2021 Oct 4
Sri Lanka. Pearl of the Indian Ocean. And amongst its rich history and vibrant culture shines its kaleidoscope of flora and fauna. The island is home to thousands of species of plants and animals; a responsibility that weighs heavier than expected, and one that is being carried by too few. With such mounting challenges, climate, politics, overpopulation and corruption, it seems that the state of Sri Lankan wildlife will continue to be shrouded in peril and uncertainty. However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t people fighting for it. There are over 600 wildlife conservation organisations scattered around the country. With more and more awareness being brought to the topic every day, especially now, it would help to understand who some of the frontliners are, what their mission is, what they fight for, and who’s been on top of this goal of protecting wildlife. They could use all the support they can get, via donations, volunteers or simply just awareness as a whole. So, without further ado, here are some key wildlife conservation organisations to know about.
The Wildlife and Nature Protection Society
This list starts off with arguably the largest wildlife protection group in Sri Lanka. Founded in 1894 as the Game Protection Society of Ceylon, the WNPS has dedicated its 125-year-long run to raising its voice as a frontliner in the battle for preserving Sri Lanka’s diverse catalogue of flora and fauna. Their efforts have extended through courts of law, government proposals and sparking massive movements towards wildlife conservation. One such movement was the Fauna and Flora Protection Ordinance, which led to the construction of Sri Lanka’s biggest visible symbols of wildlife prosperity: Wilpattu National Park, Yala National Park, Udawalwawe National Park and Sinharaja rainforest. All of which would not have existed without the WNPS. The organisation’s goal today remains steadfast: to keep fighting for wildlife rights. However, it has also started pouring its efforts into education, teaching the younger generations the importance of protecting the earth.
Address: No. 86, Rajamalwatte Road, Battaramulla, Sri Lanka.
Contact: 0112 887 390
Sri Lanka Wilderness Foundation
The SLWF’s goal is simple: protect Sri Lanka’s wildlife by making the tourism industry more educated and sustainable, reducing the country’s overall carbon footprint. Since 2000, they have spearheaded projects in 24 locations around Sri Lanka, offering lucrative ecotourism services that guide tourists to enjoy a perfect assimilation into the culture, community, wildlife and excitement of the tour they’re on, all with zero impact on the environment. But of course, for those who want to get a little more involved with conserving the environment, the SLWF offers volunteer opportunities to gap year students, internships, and field conservation units that get to assist research and infrastructure development, and work with local communities. A few quick examples of their many successful projects include Project Pangolin, Project Orange Elephant, and more. Curious? Check out their website for all the details.
Sri Lanka Wildlife Conservation Society
In 1995, a group of Sri Lankans convened in Manhattan, New York, with a goal and a dream. The goal was to establish a community-based structure through which to build sustainable wildlife conservation and research projects through participation. The dream, was to one day solve the conflict between elephants and humans, from a social, environmental and moral context. 25 years later, this successful, award-winning, international organisation is keeping that dream alive, fighting with the same tenacity as their roots would suggest, but now on a larger stage. Their commitments have expanded to “developing practical solutions that mitigate wildlife-human conflict, environmental damage, climate change, and biodiversity loss, and that address sustainable livelihoods, land use, and rural poverty issues”. True to its mission, the SLWCS hosts a wide array of volunteer work, from working at Wasgamuwa National Park, to marine projects, to simply becoming an E-volunteer and working online. Find out more about the conservation community they’ve built on their website.
Contact: 0729 999 520
Address: 6/5 Kanatte Road, Udahamulla, Nugegoda 10250
Department of Wildlife Conservation.
Wildlife conservation is a huge topic, and in the hands of a governing body like the DWC, it’s a topic that becomes manageable through utilisation of manpower, law enforcement, resources and research. Their committees’ efforts also played a hand in the establishment of the Fauna and Flora Ordinance act previously mentioned in this article. As such, the scale of the DWC’s projects is large. Some of them include working with global organisations to stretch human resources across all wildlife protection sanctuaries within the country on a long-term basis. Another project included establishing a string of sanctuaries in the Mahaweli region, particularly to help shelter the wild elephant population in the area. There’s so much more to unpack about this organisation, so best check their website.
Address: 811A Jayanthipura, Battaramulla, Sri Lanka
Contact: 0112 888 585
Federation of Environmental Organizations
For any system to function there must be a network. A central point of communication. By that analogy, the FEO is the cell tower of the world of wildlife and environmental conservation. It’s a registered trust governed by a board of passionate conservationists, whose goal is to unify conservational organisations through communication and collaboration, making sure everyone knows what everyone is doing, and avoiding clashes. They work to organize large scale projects that require the aid of multiple conservation organisations, whilst at the same time working with smaller organisations to support and provide them with the necessary resources to mitigate and handle crises. Some of their recent work includes ‘Project Lunugamvehera” which resulted in the removal of IAS (Invasive Alien Species) in the Lunugamvehera National Park, and The Nature Interpretation Program, which ensures that Sri Lanka practices safe and responsible tourism. You can learn more about their mission on their website.
Address: Federation of Environmental Organizations, 49/8, Fife Road, Colombo 5
Number: 0774 443 796
Instagram: FEO SL
Care for strays on the streets
Animal Welfare and Protection Association
AWPA was formed and registered in 1963 by a small group of concerned animal lovers, appalled at the treatment of tray animals in rural and urban environments. By 1980, the association was certified as a voluntary organisation dedicated to promoting public interest in the welfare of animals, and protecting them tirelessly. Having facilitated countless adoptions, and worked with shelters to improve their resources to provide optimum care for its inhabitants, AWPA is dedicated to creating a safe, free, and holistic ecosystem in Sri Lanka wherein strays and humans can coexist symbiotically and peacefully. You can join the mission too, by donating to their cause, adopting a stray, or by volunteering at their shelters and fundraisers. Find out more about them on their website.
Contact: 0112 360 026
There are over 3 million stray animals in Sri Lanka. And the goal of Animal SOS is to provide suitable safe veterinary care to all of them. a UK registered charity, Kim Cooling established the organisation in 2007, and after raising funds to purchase a plot of land and a small animal clinic in Midigama, Ahangama, their journey officially began in 2009. Animal SOS’s dream is to provide a haven for sick, and disabled strays nationwide, which they have worked towards with rehabilitation facilities, an on-site veterinary clinic with local vets functioning every day all year around. Their tenacity has sparked a movement towards stray animal welfare and healthcare. But every helping hand matter, and donations play a big part in fueling the cause. Learn how to donate on their website.
Address: Puwakwatta, Kongashena, Midigama, Ahangama, Sri Lanka
Facebook: Animal SOS Sri Lanka
A vacation. A puppy. A Disease-ridden dog. And a monk. These were the unlikely paving stones that comprised the first steps towards the Dogstar Foundation. Founded by a husband-and-wife pair of engineers from the UK, the once small charity has made a big impact, providing treatment and rehabilitation for thousands of stray dogs, providing sterilisation and treatment for over 44,000 of man’s best friends. Their weapons for this battle are education, a dedicated team of vets, and humble donations from well wishers and volunteers that were moved by their cause. Find out more about the Dogstar Foundation on their website, and revel at the stories of tenacity, love, and an endless stream of ripples that make a big splash in the urban wildlife ecosystem. Learn how to support them on their website.
Address: 694-694a Mada Pitipana, Pamunugama Rd, Negombo, Western Province, 11500, Sri Lanka
Contact: 0777 809 500
Facebook: Dogstar Foundation
LinkedIn: Dogstar Foundation
Instagram: Dogstar Foundation Sri Lanka
YouTube: Dogstar Foundation
Education and Research
Wildlife Conservation Society – Galle
Through the gallery of conservation efforts, at least a few of them need to take the forefront in education, providing resources and awareness to the public and especially the younger generations. That’s where the wildlife conservation society of Galle come in. established in 1993, the society has tirelessly pursued the path of conservation though education, by conducting lectures, exhibitions, excursions, and other forms of interactive learning experiences driven by the community. The society further works closely with large educational and conservational bodies, embarking on projects with the likes of the Department of Wildlife Conservation, Forest Department, National Maritime Museum, National Museum, University of Ruhuna and The Open University of Sri Lanka to name a few. They also work with university academics and organisations both government and non-government, to spearhead some groundbreaking research that has led to the discovery of several species of fauna. Learn more about this society of education on their website.
Address: Biodiversity Education and Research Centre, Hiyare Reservoir, Hiyare, Galle, Sri Lanka.
Contact: 0115 624 227
Young Zoologists’ Association
Let’s protect nature. A slogan does not get more succinct and pointed than that. The Young Zoologists’ association is a non-governmental, non-profit, voluntary organisation, fittingly based at the Dehiwala Zoological Gardens, and dedicated towards making a conservation “a habit and not an activity”. Their call to action can be summarized by the division of their 5 committees. Education, Public Relations, Publication, Research and Environmental action. Between them they have conducted numerous field work sessions, organized campaigns, protests, movements, coordinated with branch organisations to foster education programs, as well as publishing immensely informative articles, research papers and newsletters on their field of expertise. Together, this association harbors a strong passion towards educating and uplifting the community through awareness on wildlife and sustainability. It keeps itself consistent. The association has dedicated every Sunday to a study group program. A series of courses that follow the study of Aquatic Life, Birds, Butterfly, Flora, Mammals, and Reptiles, with certified examinations at the end. Such is the path of this group of researchers, educators and animal lovers.
Website: Young Zoologists’ Association
Address: National Zoological Gardens, Anagarika Dharmapala Mawatha, Dehiwala, Sri Lanka
Contact: 0114 852 828
YouTube: YZA Sri Lanka
The Forest Healing Foundation
Awarded a top-ranking organisation by Global Giving 2020, the FHF is a volunteer-based conservation program that has fostered forest welfare projects island wide. Advocate. Protect. Rebuild. Those are their primary objectives. And have they delivered? Let the statistics speak for themselves. 3 hectares of degraded rainforest restored. 550 trees planted. $4000 in donations. And over 30 local families supported by this one organisation. Like the roots they protect, their passion runs deep. Their latest project was the Smallholder Farmer Project of 2020, wherein they worked with local farmers to plant specially picked trees above paddy fields to improve soil retention and reduce erosion. They also built sluice gates along with this to improve water utilisation through the fields. And this is just the tip of the ice berg. Follow the rest of their missions on their website
Address: 69/1 Wepathana, Gomagoda 20184 via Digana, Sri Lanka
Contact: 0777 809 500
Twitter: Forest Healing Sri Lanka
Facebook: The Forest Healing Foundation Sri Lanka
LinkedIn: Forest Healing Foundation
Instagram: Forest Healing Foundation
Rainforest Protectors of Sri Lanka
Moving back to the guardians of the trees, the Rainforest Protectors of Sri Lanka are a Non-Profit Organisation on a mission to protect the endangered rainforests and their ecosystems. Their efforts have been heavily focused on fortifying the future of the Sinharaja and Kanneliya rainforest. The Rainforest Protectors are detectives, conducting investigations, reports, and searches to root out urgent threats and resolve them before they fly out of hand. They have carried out many campaigns to battle encroachment and deforestation, particularly around Sinharaja rainforest. Their current mission is to set up a conservation center on the way to the entrance to Kaduwa, to carry out operations more effectively. Find out more about their mission and how to donate through their website.
Address: #623B Nawala Road, Rajagiriya
Contact: 0777 771 348
Conservation through Commerce
Biodiversity Sri Lanka
Bridging the gap between Conservation and Business, BSL is a national platform run by the private sector, that strives to push the issues of biodiversity and sustainability through the hands of the business community, working hard to aid companies in understanding such issues, and providing frameworks for which to integrate sustainability and ecology into their corporate lifestyle: “Add economic value to biodiversity conservation and integrate it into the core business of companies”. The goal is to one day eradicate the carbon footprint large companies have on society. Through provision of technical support, fostering communication networks between civil society and the private sector, and sharing knowledge and experience, BSL has actively pursued its goals, taking on many projects throughout the country. Have a look at them all through their website.
Address: 46/42, Navam Mawatha, Colombo 02, Sri Lanka
Contact: 0112 314 454
LinkedIn: Biodiversity Sri Lanka
Facebook: Biodiversity Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka Turtle Conservation Project
The TCP is an independent environmental NGO established in 1993 under the Central Environmental Authority. True to the name, it is dedicated to creating sustainable living conditions for the sea turtle populations in Sri Lanka. Through surveys, research, education programmes and community outreach initiatives, the TCP has racked up a considerable number of projects under its belt, including playing a large role in rehabilitating and supporting wildlife and people after the 2004 Tsunami. Currently they are holding the Sagara Soba 2021, an art competition aimed at 5–18-year-olds, with the theme of capturing the magical beauty of marine environments. If this doesn’t stand as a testament to their versatility and passion, not much else will. Their efforts have awarded them a rather stacked trophy shelf of achievements – The ‘Highly Commended’ award from British Airways ‘Tourism for Tomorrow’ in 1998, The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) ‘Conservation Award’ in 2008, The ‘Green Employment Award’ in 2009, and the International Sea Turtle Society’s ‘Champions Award’ in 2010. In 2013, Mr. Thushan Kapurusinghe, Project Leader and Co-founder of TCP, was highlighted in the ‘Top 10 of Asia’ magazine for achieving conservation goals in Rekawa turtle sanctuary. Go and learn more about them through their contact details.
Address: 72\ 4, Old Galle Road, Walana, Panadura. Sri Lanka.
Contact: 0383 370 522
Blue Resources Trust
The Story of the Blue Resources Trust is simple. A group of marine experts and enthusiasts dedicated to protecting the oceans they so frequently traverse through. The team’s world-class leadership and experience have garnered praise and success in encouraging community driven conservation efforts. Also, its victories aren’t simply confined to the country. The Blue Resources Trust has built a network of international and local organisations. But their true strength is research. The Trust acts as a platform for scientists to conduct research and improve the utilisation of marine resources in protecting the oceans. Their team is small, but it brims with a diverse pool of expertise. Find out how to support them and view their research projects online.
Twitter: Blue Resources Trust
Facebook: Blue Resources Trust
Instagram: Blue Resources Trust
This is but the tip of the iceberg. For every group on this list there are scores more fighting for the same cause on every avenue. So if this article were to accomplish one thing, it would be to encourage readers to search for conservation organisations nearby, and learn just a little bit more about the fight for the nation’s nature and wildlife.