Sri Lankan biodiversity enthusiasts will hold an ‘expert session’ in view of the World Environment Day, which falls on June 5, 2016 to discuss ways and means of tackling illegal trade in wildlife.
The expert session, which will be conducted on June 9, 2016, is conducted jointly by the Biodiversity Sri Lanka, Environmental Professionals of Sri Lanka (IEPSL) and Base for Enthusiasts of Environmental Science and Zoology (BEEZ), a student body with a common interest in zoology and environmental sciences, based at the University of Colombo.
The latest move by the local environmentalists comes as it was found that Sri Lanka is being used by the illegal wildlife traders operating between Africa and East Asia, as a point of their operations. This is proven through the Sri Lanka Customs detecting and seizing a blood ivory container in 2012 with 359 pieces on board, weighing 1.5 tonnes, en-route to Dubai from Kenya.
Another seizer of a massive consignment of 28 container loads of Madagascar Dalbergia timber (Rose Wood) worth US $ 7 million, which was being transported from Zanzibar to Hong Kong via Sri Lanka in 2014, has also been recorded.
Wildlife Conservation Department Director General Dr. Sumith Pilapitiya will deliver the keynote address on this theme and its relevance to Sri Lanka. This will be followed by a panel discussion with eminent professionals - former Customs Biodiversity, Cultural and National Heritage Protection Division Deputy Director Samantha Gunasekera, Colombo Jewellery Stores CEO Akram Cassim, John Keells Group Executive Vice President Vasantha Leelananda, Prof. Devaka Weerakoon of University of Colombo and IUCN and Attorney-at-Law Jagath Gunawardena.
Sri Lanka is strategically located in the global maritime route and most of the container ships, particularly between Africa and the Gulf region, to the East Asian region, pass through the Colombo Port. A growing illegal wildlife trade between Africa and the East Asian region takes place on this shipping lane. The upcoming expert session on tackling illegal trade in wildlife, which is sponsored by Sampath Bank, will be held at the Senate Hall, College House, University of Colombo, starting at 4:00 p.m.
Those who wish to take part may contact Biodiversity Sri Lanka Projects and Events Coordinator Sherani Ruberu: email – email@example.com, Tel. – +94.11.5588843 or +94.77.7470572.