“Conservation through Education” | Sunday Observer
A series of events by YZA to mark World Wetlands Day

“Conservation through Education”

19 March, 2023

Wetlands are a wondrous creation of nature which is currently being intervened by humans. Human activities and short- sighted development practices have been identified as a key cause of wetland degradation.

Wetlands are considered as the kidneys of the earth, composed of diversified structures such as rivers, streams, ponds, lagoons and estuaries. They provide a range of services from supplying clean drinking water, clean air and food to all basic needs of man that are crucial for their existence. The ecosystem services provided by wetlands for the sustainability of biodiversity as well as for the survival of humans are immense. However, due to factors such as lack of awareness, insensitivity and lack of proper guidance in conservation, the entire nature that sustains life is being destroyed.

The Young Zoologists’ Association (YZA) of Sri Lanka, having recognised the dire need to protect wetlands, held a series of events covering various aspects of the community to mark World Wetlands Day on February 2.

These activities contribute to nourishing the theme of the Association, “Conservation Through Education”.

As the first event of the series, the Association in collaboration with the Department of Wildlife Conservation held an awareness program for the students of Ananda Shastralaya, Kotte and Thurstan College, Colombo.

Simultaneously, an art exhibition, a survey on environmental problems affecting Sri Jayewardenepura Kotte Sanctuary and a wetland bird survey in the sanctuary were conducted. A tree plantation program was held with the participation of Kaduwela Assistant Regional Secretariat; Former Wildlife Conservation Department Director General, Dr. Chandrawansa Pathiraja; Former Director of Customs (Bio-Diversity Division), Samantha Gunasekara, the Officer in Charge of the Welikada Police Division, Chinthaka Anuradha, several environmentalists and government officers.

The Association also made a valuable contribution to the Wetlands Day programs hosted by the Central Environment Authority and Sri Lanka Land Development Cooperation.

A workshop on “Wetlands Diversity and Restoration” was held at Diyasaru Park, Sri Jayewardenepura, Kotte under the guidance of attorney-at-law, Dr. Jagath Gunawardana, Deputy General Manager of wetland management division of Sri Lanka Land Development Cooperation, Dr. N.S. Wijayarathne, Dr. Dananjaya Darmarathne and Ranoshi Siripala.

A special press conference and panel discussion titled “Wetlands Restoration, Threats from Invasive Species and Government inaction” was held at the National library and documentation services board auditorium on February 15, 2023. The panel members were Dr. Jagath Gunawardena, Ishanda Seneviratne, Shantha Jayaweera, Lakshitha Edirisinghe and Sajani Gamage.

The Association also participated in a special TV program “Yali Nagitimu Sri Lanka” aired on Sirasa Media Network’s TV 01 channel.

A video clip about wetlands has been posted on social media and a Special Wetlands Day supplement,” Sanrakshanaya” was issued with the Association’s Magazine.

A biodiversity survey covering the Kotte Wetlands is now under way, in collaboration with the Department of Wildlife Conservation.

– The Young Zoologists’ Association