WNPS monthly lecture: Indian pangolin with reference to Sri Lanka | Sunday Observer

WNPS monthly lecture: Indian pangolin with reference to Sri Lanka

Head of the Biodiversity and Sustainability Research Group, Department of Forestry and Environmental Science, Sri Jayewardenepura University, Dr. Priyan Perera will deliver the monthly Wildlife and Nature Protection Society (WNPS) lecture on March 19 at 6 p.m. at the BMICH. He will speak on Unwinding the secrets of the elusive Indian pangolin.

The Indian pangolin (Manis crassicaudata) is a solitary, elusive and predominantly nocturnal mammal native to South Asia. Its high adaptability has successfully enabled it to live in an array of natural and human-modified habitats such as tropical rain forests, subtropical thorn forests, deciduous forests and open scrublands.

Despite its ability to adapt to different habitats, the Indian pangolin is considered to be declining across its range. Key threats include hunting and poaching for its meat and scales, illegal international trade, habitat loss and fragmentation. Pangolins are considered to be the most trafficked wild animals in the world as scales, meat and other derivatives have a high demand in East Asian markets.

The growing knowledge on the international trading and trafficking of pangolins and the recent listing of the Indian pangolin in Appendix l of CITES has generated considerable interest on the species among researchers and conservationists in Sri Lanka.

Overexploitation of other Asian pangolin populations is believed to have resulted in increased exploitative attention on M. crassicaudata in Pakistan, India and possibly Sri Lanka for illicit international trade. Lack of reliable scientific information has impaired the accurate assessment of their conservation needs.

Many facts on the distribution, ecology and behaviour of M. crassicaudata in Sri Lanka remained as mysteries till the initiation of the Pangolin Conservation Project by the Biodiversity and Sustainability Research Group of the Department of forestry and Environmental Science, University of Sri Jayewardenepura in 2014.

This talk discusses the current knowledge on the Indian pangolin with special reference to Sri Lanka, and identifies key research priorties for better conservation planning of the species.

Dr. Priyan Perera received his PhD in Forestry from the Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge LA, USA in 2011 and holds Masters degrees in Forestry and Environmental Conservation from the same University.

He is interested in interdisciplinary research related to Environmental Management and Wildlife Conservation..

In 2014, he initiated the flagship research project on Indian pangolin conservation to uncover information on behaviour, ecology and threats to the species, which remained largely unknown in the Sri Lankan context.

The research has led to several international scientific publications on the species with the newly generated information having been used in the latest lUCN Global Red List assessment of the lndian pangolin. He is also a member of the lUCN Pangolin Specialist Group, Zoological Society of London.

The WNPS lecture is open to all and entrance is free.