The recent nabbing of a frozen pangolin in the kitchens of a Chinese restaurant in the heart of Colombo has shed a much-needed spotlight on the importance of curbing the illegal exploitation of these shy mammals which are a globally endangered species, and nationally a near threatened one. There are four species of Pangolin restricted to Asia. The one found in Sri Lanka is the Indian Pangolin (Manis crassicaudata), and is commonly called the Scaly Ant-eater (Sinhala: “Kaballawa”, “Aya”; Tamil: “Alungu”). Pangolins can be identified by the distinctive scales which cover their entire body, and they are found in both the wet and dry zones of Sri Lanka.
From pangolins to elephants, from tropical timber to birds and snakes: Wildlife trafficking is one of the largest illegal global trade sectors and generates billions of USD per year. Since 1975, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) provides a framework for the sustainable trade of wildlife and ecosystem products.
Last week, in Gomarakandawala, a tiny village in the North-Eastern province of Trincomalee in Sri Lanka, we sat in a tiny house, enjoying a meal from very hospitable, generous people. Even as we ate, we heard firecrackers go off not very far away from us.
Humane Society International together with SLYCAN Trust organised a lecture on “Addressing the human-elephant conflict in Sri Lanka” followed by a panel discussion on October 14th, 2019. Dr Prithiviraj Fernando, an expert in the conservation field with for over 25 years, narrated the present situation in Sri Lanka.