United Nations Environment Program
United Nations Environment Program
Petition To Stop Yulin 2018
Please take action now and voice your support for a ban on this year’s dog meat festival in Yulin, China. Signing and sharing this petition is crucial, we must make one final push to save thousands of innocent dogs – they don’t deserve to die! Spread the word and Say No To Yulin 2018
Restrict movement of trucks in built up areas within Nigeria to the hours of 11pm and 5am.
I’m so angry, angry at all those who had years of influence in political office and did nothing, angry at how the Nigerian capitalists do not care about anyone or anything but their pockets, I’m angry about how the government puts little or no value on human lives, I’m mega angry that we are a people who would do nothing but rant about this on Facebook for a few days and then forget about it till the next incident, it reeks of complete lack of value and regard for human lives to have lagosians living in the midst of combustibles, Apapa tanks farms are all accidents waiting to happen, then we have to deal with the harbinger of death in the form of these trucks and the lunatics who drive them. If you reside in Lagos , I’m sure you have a tale or two about these truck drivers who will blatantly tell you they don’t care about your life, so get out of their way. It would seem the solution to this Problem is quite simple; Railway , a single train will convey the equivalent of 50 or more trucks in cargo,this will save cost of transportation drastically and save us billions of tax Naira in road maintenance. This simple yet effective means of transportation will save us all the headaches of focusing so much on our rearview mirrors while driving, I am not stupid enough to think we won’t need tankers for delivery to the individual stations, but there surely can be a law restricting their movement in built up areas to certain times. These issues are NOT entirely political, they are Capitalist issues, the Business man who cuts corners to get a DPR license for a filling station smack in the middle of residential areas is as much to blame as a trucker who owns 500 trucks and would readily pay hoodlums to vandalize railway tracks, the importer who buys accidented used trucks to be refurbished and sold in Nigeria should also not sit back and blame the government. So what is the way forward? Can I get at least a thousand Nigerians to Help me sign a petition to the senate , i will also require a lawmaker to sponsor a bill limiting the time for truck movement in built up areas to the hours of 11pm-5am.
Stop Deforesting in Sri Lanka
Deforestation in Sri Lanka is one of the most serious environmental issues that have appeared to be rapidly for past few years. Sri Lanka’s forest cover, which was around 49% in 1920, has fallen to approximately 18% by now. Between 2000 and 2016 the rate of deforestation growing 1.46% per annum. Sri Lankan natural forests are in severe danger. Approximately 65,000 acres have already been allocated for this gigantic project and no government official has been concerned about the disaster that would cause in terms of this project,” It has 751 known species of amphibians, birds, mammals and reptiles of which 21.7% are endemic, and over 3,314 species of vascular plants, of which 26.9% are endemic. Facts : http://www.dailymirror.lk/article/Lankan-forests-facing-imminent-threat-due-to-deforestation-130983.html
No More Plastic Straws in McDonalds
Plastic pollution is a growing problem in the world. By 2050 it is estimated that, by weight, there is going to be more plastic than fish in the world. And, in recent years it has also started to make its way into the food-chain. Whales are known to have eaten plastic bags, so too have Sea Turtles. Whilst, fish have succumbed to eating polyethyelene microplastics. However, in recent years a new problem has come to the attention of the public: Plastic Straws. They are known to have caused the drowning of turtles as they get stuck in their nostrils. This is needless and inhumane. Especially when an easy alternative is already readily available worldwide. Paper straws do exactly the same, except when they have been used they biodegrade. McDonalds, one of the largest Transnational Corporations in every country is one of the front-runners in their production of plastic straws, if they can stop, why can't many others follow their lead?! When we, as a nation, signed up to the UN Sustainable Development Goals we pledged to help life under water- this could be one of the biggest steps in helping us achieve this. Please sign...#PlasticStrawsSuck
Save Endangered Sri Lankan Elephants-They are on the path to Extinction !
Despite increased efforts to tackle the surge in Human Elephant Conflict due to deforestation and habitat fragmentation, nearly 2844 elephants have been killed by 1991-2010, from then 300 per year have been killed up to now - highlighting the need for urgent international action to address the endangered wildlife crisis in Sri Lanka. The Sri Lankan elephant Elephas maximus maximus native to Sri Lanka, had been listed as endangered by IUCN as the population has declined by at least 65% over the last three generations, estimated to be 60-75 years. However the declining of elephant population day by day pulls them towards the Critically Endangered category which will ultimately expel them from the earth categorizing them to the category Extinct! The elephant population drastically go down at “alarming pace” with around 4500 remaining currently which also revealed by government auditor general reports-2018, that Sri Lankan elephant is in huge danger of extinction if action is not immediately taken to reverse the current trend toward extinction. But Unfortunately Sri Lankan government unable to address the issue yet. The main threats the species faces in Sri Lanka are: Deforestation, habitat loss, habitat fragmentation, and degradation Obstructing Elephant corridors and Migratory pathways Waste Disposal to the elephant gathering areas Poaching and Illegal killing The Sri Lankan elephant was once found throughout the island of Sri Lanka, but is now being pushed into dry zone and pocketed into smaller forest areas. Deforestation, fragmentation of natural habitats owing to mega development projects, irrigation, infrastructure and human settlements have lead to a continuous contraction of habitats available to elephants and restrict the food gain and water gain of the elephants. Also, Elephant Migratory pathways are entirely blocked by human settlement. Though the Sri Lankan government always speaking about Sustainable development in world summits but nothing had happened so far, for the means of sustainable development! Highways, roads, dams, railway tracks and other mega projects are still building through dense forests and wildlife reserves. No concept of Eco Bridges or any other conservation technology. Conversion of elephant habitat to settlements and permanent cultivation by Deforestation makes a devastating impact on Sri Lanka’s elephant population and government not able to take any single step to minimize deforestation although the country’s primary forest cover remaining in nearly 14%. At the same time, Many elephants have been dying due to starvation, unplanned electrical fencing would intensify this pathetic situation much more. Another major problem is water scarcity within their habitats. Since the natural sources of food are destroyed, they tempt to roam for villages in search of food and water. They unintentionally destroy the cultivation of the villagers in order to quench their prolonging starvation, becoming a pest in Agriculture! This results the initiation of human – elephant conflict and cause the death of many elephants. The resultant Human-Elephant Conflict (HEC) has escalated to an alarmingly high proportion at present contributing to a very high mortality of elephants , about 3 elephant deaths per week, a 5% decline annually. Though the whole remaining estimated elephant is lower than 4000 in the country, Every year nearly 300-350 elephants are killed by gunshots, electrocution, planting hakkapatas or Jaw-bombs, snares, man-made traps and pits, poisoning and train accidents. It is very pathetic situation that many wild elephants that roam in the forests today are carrying large numbers of bullets within their bodies and many are blind due to gunshots. Almost many of wild elephants that lucky to save their lives so far, have become disabled by trap guns. The continued intensity of the human elephant conflict would pose a serious threat to the survival of the wild elephant in Sri Lanka and the resultant decline in elephant population will have an adverse impact on the viability of other wildlife as the elephant is a ‘keystone species’ and is critical to the management of its habitat: Since the elephant is a ‘flagship species’ its conservation will result in the maintenance of biological diversity and ecological integrity across a vast area of Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka was a signatory to the CITES convention, (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Flora and Fauna) is bound to protect its endangered species and prevent their trade in any form, alive or dead. Therefore the Government has a great obligation to protect the wild elephants and to control the poaching but, also an international responsibility as it had signed many international conventions to protect them. Therefore, it is needed to take urgent actions to draft a National Policy for the Conservation and Management of Wild Elephants in the country, in collaboration with the Department of Wildlife, Department Forest and Central Environmental Authority. But unfortunately, they were unable to implement a national policy framework for scientific conservation of wild elephants in their natural habitats so far. Some of the main activities conducted for conflict mitigation and elephant conservation in Sri Lanka are translocation by capture-transport, elephant drives, the distribution of elephant thunder crackers, the construction of electric fences and law enforcement. Elephant drives and thunder crackers cannot be considered successful deterrents. In fact, it has been consistently true that these starved, habitat lost giant beings only become more aggressive as a result of these methods. Electric fences are useful, but only as a psychological barrier. Declaring war on wild elephants Recently, at a public forum organized by the Department of Wildlife Conservation, the new Minister for Wildlife announced that rather than take the advice of researchers and conservationists, and implement the National Policy, that he had devised a policy of his own, for a ‘final solution’ to HEC, by adding 2,500 km of electric fencing to the existing 4,500 km, and confining elephants to forested land, by driving them from all places where they have contact with humans. In addition, he announced that 3,500 members of the Civil Defense Force (CDF) will be suitably armed, with Chinese weapons similar to T56 rifles, and placed at regular intervals along the fence to restrict the elephants to where they have been driven to. Suitable ‘guard posts’ will be built, at regular intervals along the fences, for the members of the CDF who will function independently and NOT be under the jurisdiction of the DWC. As there are villages and cultivations in 60% of the landscape of Sri Lanka in which 70% of the elephant population of Sri Lanka live, if the aforementioned estimate of numbers is to be accepted, then almost 4,000 elephants will have to be driven. The only places left would be the protected areas without people which constitute just 18% of the land area of the island and are at carrying capacity for elephants i.e. there is no more food for any additional elephants! Exceeding the carrying capacity would result in elephants starving to death due to a lack of adequate fodder. In addition, the Minister is to increase the number of elephants brought to the Elephant Holding Facility at Horowpathana to 100 elephants, and build another at Lunugamvehera. To these ‘prisons’, according to the Minister, will be sent all male elephants that are caught habituating human cultivation. As this population contain many of the prime breeding bulls in Sri Lanka, the genetic health of future populations, if there are any, will be serious weakened. It is said that Sri Lanka's elephant population can decrease by more than 50% if the above new Elephant-human conflict mitigation plan proposed by the Ministry of Sustainable Development, wildlife and regional Development is implemented researchers and conservationists said. We strongly believe that the survival of these animals is possible only through the protection of their natural habitats. For maintaining such un-fragmented habitats, Elephant corridors are the key. Elephant corridors are narrow strips of land that allow elephants to move from one habitat patch to another and securing these is critical to their survival and gene pool. The current scenario is: · In many nations of the world networking of wildlife habitats elephant corridors and restoring private and community lands to wilderness areas is gaining ground. eg; The Relocation of Ram Terrang in India and allocation for a Elephant corridor as a HEC mitigation measure. http://www.wti.org.in/projects/kaziranga-karbi-anglong-link/ · Sri Lanka has 70 Elephant corridors and lot of private lands which fall in these corridors has already been secured by Public-private partnerships and Elephants have been seen using these areas increasingly over the years. · Sri Lanka’s forest cover is now drastically decreasing due to rapid growth of human population and urbanization. Therefore this is the last chance to allocation and protection of endangered species in their habitats. For the conservation of elephants basically their natural habitats should be protected. Illegal deforestation of protected lands and national parks should be stopped immediately. All deforestation happening by the political power here, corrupted politicians connected in this huge environmental disaster in Sri Lanka. Thus, the elephant migration between protected areas needs to be facilitated through either maintenance or renewed establishment of human-habitation free corridors. Ensuring the future survival of elephants that range inside and outside protected areas is both central and crucial to the conservation of elephants in Sri Lanka. The urgent step that the government should take is to establish the proposed MER in Hambantota district, which will pave the way to reduce human elephant conflict in Southern province. The proposed conservation plan connects the Udawalawa , Lunugamvehera and Bundala wildlife reserves, after studying the animal’s migration patterns through longitudinal research and even satellite technology. But government not able to implement this elephant reserve yet and these lands distributed to unplanned projects and settlements. There is a unique opportunity to give back to wilderness. The following are a few ways in which the govt. can help the situation: Declaration, demarcation and legal protection of the natural habitats and elephant corridors under laws. Improvement of forest cover in elephant corridors. Prevention and eviction of legal and illegal encroachments. Purchase of land and voluntary relocation of settlements in the area. Habitat Enrichment with fodder trees and grasses. Enforcing laws and policies to protect tuskers and elephants in the wild. Reform the land policy for resettlement. Environmental groups are working in coalition to save the elephants in their habitats, to put pressure on government to implement a national policy framework for wild elephant conservation and need your support too. We are strongly urge you to kindly intervene into the matter and direct the Sri Lankan government to implement a urgent scientific conservation framework for these endangered elephants to conserve in their natural habitats. Elephants have long been part of our life, culture and mythology. Let's sign this petition and do our bit to save these magnificent gentle giants and conserve and preserve our natural wealth and heritage for the right future. All concerned people please sign and share this petition and your every single sign should help to save endangered gentle Giants of Sri Lanka. http://www.ft.lk/other-sectors/Government-to-wage-war-on-wild-elephants/57-660090 http://www.ceylontoday.lk/news-search/devaka%20weerakoon/print-more/10067 http://www.sundaytimes.lk/171224/news/parks-monitoring-and-elephant-corridors-for-safety-274334.html https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=1679890625466341&id=501402253315190 Sri Lankan elephants in Starvation This bull elephant has 48 gunshots and was died after translocation to another area. ශ්රී ලංකාව තුළ වසරකට අලිඇතුන් 300 පමණ විවිධ අයුරින් සාහසික ලෙස ඝාතනය වන අතර රජය විසින් ඉක්මනින් වන අලි සංරක්ෂණ ජාතික ක්රමවේදයකට පියවර නොගතහොත් 2048 වසර වෙද්දී මෙරට අලිඇතුන් සම්පූර්නයෙන්ද වද වී යනු ඇති බවට රජයේ විඝණකාධිපතිවරයි පවා අනතුරු අගවා තිබියදීත් වනඅලි සංරක්ෂණයට රජය විසින් පියවරක් මෙතුවක් ගෙන නොමැති අතර එය ඉතා කණගාටුදාකය. ලංකාවේ ඉතිරිව පවතින ඉතාමත් සුලු වනගත ප්රදේශ වපසරියක හා රක්ෂිතවල දැඩි ආහාර අහේනියකට ලක්ව වදවී යාමේ අවධානමට ලක් වී ඇති අලිඇතුන් රැක ගැනීම සදහා රජය විසින් අලි ඇතුන් නිජබිම් තුලම සංරක්ෂණය කිරීමට කඩිනමින් ජාතික අලි සංරක්ෂණ විද්යාත්මක ක්රමවේදයක් ක්රියාත්මක කළ යුතුව තිබුනද එය එසේ නොවී දේශපාලන පටු වාසි තකා තාවකාලික පැලැස්තර ගැසීමෙන් අලි මිනිස් ගැටුමද දිනෙන් දිනම උග්ර අතට හැරෙමින් පවතී. එහි ප්රථිපලය මෙම දැවැන්තයින් රටට දිනෙන් දිනම අහිමිවීම පමණි. අලි ඇල්ලීම්, අලි එලවීම්, අක්රමවත් විදිලි වැට මෙම ප්රශ්නයට ස්ථ්රසාර විසදුම් නොවේ. අලිඇතුන්ගේ චර්යාවන් හා සංක්රමණික රටා අධ්යනයෙන් අලි ඇතුන්ගේ නිජබිම් හා අලි මංකඩවල් හදුනා ඒවා ආරක්ෂා කරදී නිජබිම් සංරක්ෂණයක් ගෙන ඒමට රජය යොමු කිරීමේ බලාපොරොත්තුවෙන් අන්තර්ජාතිකව වැදගත් සංවිධානයන්ට මැදිහත් වන ලෙස ඉල්ලීමක් රැගත් මෙම පෙත්සමට ඔබේ සහයෝගය ලබාදෙන්න.
Set Up, Secure, Manage and Protect the Proposed Managed Elephant Reserve in Hambantota
The Hambantota Proposed Managed Elephant Reserve (referred to in this petition as the MER), is a yet-to-be implemented protected area (the first of its kind), which is supposed to be located in the Hambantota District, itself located in Sri Lanka's "deep south". Demarcated as an MER in 2009, in order to protect the Sri Lankan Elephant population (an estimated 400 - 450 individuals) of the Hambantota District the MER still remains (as of October 2017), un-gazetted and unimplemented. Since then, thousands of acres of semi-arid scrubland and dry-zone dry evergreen forest have been cleared for so-called development projects (initiated under the previous government), including Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport, the Sooriyawewa International Cricket Stadium, the Magampura Mahinda Rajapaksa Port and the Magam Ruhunupura International Conference Hall (amongst others), all of which are considered to be loss - making, unnecessary "white elephant" projects. As a result of all this "development", there has been a sharp increase in the number of "Human - Elephant" related conflicts in the Hambantota District. All the while, the Department of Wildlife Conservation of Sri Lanka (hereafter referred to as the DWC), the government department which is meant to be in charge of the proposed MER, has been constricted by rogue political elements within the present and previous governments, and unable to conserve and protect all this unprotected wilderness. It should also be noted that the wildernesses included within the boundaries of the proposed MER contain a significant number of different terrestrial habitats, as well as a significant portion of the island's floral and faunal diversity. Countless unknown and possibly endemic species could be driven to extinction, before they are even discovered, documented, recorded and photographed. The MER also serves as the largest remaining alternative (as far as protected areas in the Hambantota District are concerned), to Bundala National Park, which itself has suffered as a result of "development activities" and continued human-induced encroachment. Without the immediate implementation of the MER, both resident and migratory elephant and avifaunal populations will suffer from loss of habitat and destruction of crucial forest systems (which are crucial to supporting such populations). Furthermore, without the MER, several critical elephant corridors between Lunugamvehera National Park and Udawalawe National Park will be lost to on-going "development projects". The elephant corridors in question include the Koholankala - Keliyapura Elephant Corridor, the Unathuveva Elephant Corridor and the Thanamalwila Elephant Corridor, all of which are under the purview of the Department of Forest Conservation of Sri Lanka (hereafter referred to as the DFC). As it stands, various independent estimates suggest that, of the 14,000 hectares (or 54.05 square miles) of unprotected wilderness, set aside for the proposed MER, 40% of it has already been handed over to other government agencies/departments/institutions/boards and "developed" through deforestation and "necessary construction". With the signing of the recent leasing agreement, between the Sri Lankan Government and the China Merchants Port Holdings Company, an estimated 15,000 hectares of state land will be handed over to the aforementioned company, in order to facilitate a Chinese run "industrial zone". More disturbing, is the lack of information regarding this "industrial zone" and how much additional land could be confiscated from the proposed MER, as a result of it (the entire area demarcated could be confiscated). Currently, a coalition of environmental NGOs (local and international) are working to save what remains of the proposed MER's wildernesses, and are attempting to try and push the issue with the various ministries and departments that are involved in this on-going, and extremely prevalent issue. Please sign this petition, and spread it as far and as widely as possible, so as to save the remaining Sri Lankan Elephants living in the Hambantota District, as well as the flora and fauna which are very much depending on the implementation of the MER, for their survival. Even as of today, (October the 29th), the deforestation and construction of "development projects", continues to happen at an alarming rate, and if immediate action is not taken, the proposed MER could be lost before it is even gazetted and properly implemented.
Stop Deforestation of Sri Lanka
Deforestation is the permanent destruction of forests in order to make the land available for other uses. An estimated 18 million acres (7.3 million hectares) of forest, which is roughly the size of the country of Panama, are lost each year, according to the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Forests play a vital role for the world. Forests store carbon, preserve soils and nurture a diversity of species. These non-timber benefits are known as “ecosystem services.” Accounting for ecosystem services accurately in policy- and decision-making is a difficult task, especially when some have clearer dollar values than others. However, we can recognize the many ecosystem services that forests provide, and resource agencies are starting to assess and estimate forests’ economic, social and environmental values. The benefits provided by forest ecosystems include: 01. goods such as timber, food, fuel and bio products02. ecological functions such as carbon storage, nutrient cycling, water and air purification, and maintenance of wildlife habitat03. social and cultural benefits such as recreation, traditional resource uses and spirituality Deforestation is one of the most serious environmental issues in Sri Lanka. In the 1920s, the island had a 49 percent forest cover but by 2005 this had fallen by approximately 26 percent. Between 1990 and 2000, Sri Lanka lost an average of 26,800 ha of forests per year. This amounts to an average annual deforestation rate of 1.14%. Between 2000 and 2005 the rate accelerated to 1.43% per annum. The forests in Sri Lanka have been removed to make way for agricultural land and plantations and to provide fuel and timber. Population pressure is also a significant factor as is the removal of forested areas. Corrupt politicians of Sri lanka use these points of population pressure and resettlement matters after the civil war to destroy the forest. More than 3, 400 acres of the Wilpattu Forest Reserve had been destroyed by using political power. Rainforest Rescue International has introduced Forest For the Future (FFF) concept in order to increase forest cover in Sri Lanka. FFF creates man - made forest. www.fff.lk https://www.facebook.com/Forests-for-the-future-global-493851694436794/ I want to stop deforestation in Sri Lanka and take actions to increase forest cover. The government of Sri Lanka must take immediate actions against deforestation.
Protect The Greater Mahaweli Flood Plain Ecosystem Through Eco-Tourism & Global Recognition
The Greater Mahaweli Flood Plain Ecosystem comprises one of only three extended villu ecosystems found in Sri Lanka, two of which have been declared as Ramsar Listed Wetland Clusters of International Importance (as opposed to Individual Sites), under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance (which was signed on the 2nd of February 1971). The aforementioned Wetland Clusters are the Wilpattu Forest Complex (within which Wilpattu National Park is contained), and Kumana National Park (which forms one protected area within the Greater Yala Complex). However, most people (as of April the 28th 2018), still remain unaware that the Greater Mahaweli Flood Plain Ecosystem is not only a villu ecosystem, but also partially under the legal protection of Sri Lanka's relatively expansive protected area (hereafter referred to as PAs) network. The PA's in this particular instance are Flood Plains National Park (which forms one sector of the Wasgamuwa Tri - Park Sector), and Somawathiya National Park (which forms one PA within Sri Lanka's Eastern Terrestrial Protected Areas). Both national parks were declared under the Mahaweli Development Programme (now titled the Accelerated Mahaweli Development Programme), in 1984 (Flood Plains) and 1986 (Somawathiya) respectively. Currently both national parks are closed to the general public, with the only activities taking place in Somawathiya, revolving around the ancient Somawathiya Chaitya. As far as eco-tourism activities are concerned, the Department of Wildlife Conservation's decision not to open either national park to the general public, has been based around the inaccessibility of Flood Plains, and the lack of a management plan, with regard to effectively protecting the former, as well as Somawathiya. As such, this lack of eco-tourism related activities/proper management plans has led certain rogue business and politically affiliated elements with society, to engage in activities which are in direct violation of both the Flora and Fauna Protection Ordinance (hereafter referred to as the FFPO), and the Forest Conservation Ordinance (hereafter referred to as the FCO). Such activities include deforestation, cultivation of both edible and non-edible crops (i.e. bananas and tobacco), encroachment, illegal logging and grazing of domestic cattle with the boundaries of the park (illegal). The construction of the various water catchment projects (under the Accelerated Mahaweli Development Programme), has also badly affected the seasonal water flows, as well as the overall carrying capacity of the villus contained within the Greater Mahaweli Flood Plain Ecosystem (protected and un-protected). This loss of seasonal water movements by the aforementioned water catchment projects, will have an additional, detrimental effect as the ecologically rich grazing lands (i.e. the seasonally flooded grasslands), will loose their overall richness, and turn into grazing grounds which are poor in nutrition and faunal diversity, ultimately affecting the herbivorous fauna of the Greater Mahaweli Flood Plain Ecosystem. It is also worth keeping in mind, that the loss of water within the aforementioned villus, has already started to have a negative impact on the overall eco-system, with invasive floral species such as the Common Water Hyacinth (Eichhornia Crassipes), the Giant Salvinia/Kariba Weed (Salvinia Molesta) and the Cocklebur/Burweed (Xanthium Indicum) already showing signs of significant expansion, putting such alien floral species in direct competition with far more delicate native floral species. Both the Handapan and Bendiya Villus (located with Flood Plains National Park) are already exhibiting the characteristics of unnaturally altered villu ecosystems, with the accelerated loss of important herbal species a crucial indicator of such unnatural alteration. Protecting the full extent of the Greater Mahaweli Flood Plain Ecosystem (it's two PAs included), is of significant importance and should be accomplished with a real sense of urgency. The ecological diversity within Flood Plains National Park alone is staggering, with over 14 species of mammalian fauna, an estimated 75 species of avian fauna, approximately 10 - 20 species of reptilian fauna and an unknown array of aquatic freshwater and brackish water species (a significant percentage of which could turn out to be endemic). As far as floral diversity is concerned, 231 floral species have been recorded within Flood Plains National Park, contained within a host of different examples of contiguous vegetation, including dry zone riverine forests, fresh/brackish water swamp forests and marshlands, riverine gallery forests and seasonally flooded grasslands. In the case of Somawathiya National Park, the ecological diversity is of a similar importance and variety, with both national parks playing host to an avifaunal diversity that rivals national parks such as Bundala (which forms one PA within the Southern Avian and Elephant Conservation Region), Kumana and Wilpattu, with estimated mixed avian populations (endemic, resident, vagrant and migratory), numbering between 4000 - 8000 individuals (dependent on the season/time of the year). Additionally, both national parks are important feeding grounds/migratory channels for large numbers of Sri Lankan Elephants, of which an estimated 200 are recorded to inhabit/traverse Flood Plains, while approximately 300 - 400 have been counted living within/migrating through Somawathiya. Such is the overall importance of both PAs, as well as the river that they collectively protect, the Mahaweli River (alternatively titled the "Great Sandy River"), which itself (due to the Accelerated Mahaweli Development Scheme), irrigates 386 square miles/999.74 square kilometres of agricultural land, and provides approximately 40 - 50% of the island's total electrical energy production cementing the urgent need for complete protection and sustainable management. As such, the motivation behind/purpose of this petition is to push for the opening of both Flood Plains and Somawathiya National Park to the general public, with a heavy emphasis placed on eco-tourism activities such as safaris, sustainability and community-driven conservation. This would serve to discourage the range of illegal activities (mentioned in detail above), from taking place within either PA, while simultaneously bolstering the economic prospects and livelihoods of the various communities that live in the vicinity of both Flood Plains and Somawathiya. This petition also calls for the expansion of the PA Network within the Greater Mahaweli Flood Plain Ecosystem, which is only (through the two national parks mentioned), 549.984 square kilometres as of April the 28th 2018. Considering the total square kilometerage of the Greater Mahaweli Flood Plain Ecosystem is approximately four to five times the size of it's PA Network, it is imperative that the sizes of both Flood Plains and Somawathiya are significantly increased. Anyone who has been to either Wilpattu National Park or Kumana National Park will be aware of the sheer beauty, as well as the ecological diversity contained within both national park's numerous Villus or "Natural Lakes". These sand-rimmed water basins or "depressions" are of incalculable value, particularly with regard to conserving avian fauna (endemic, resident, vagrant and migratory). Consequently, this petition calls for the listing and declaration of the Greater Mahaweli Flood Plain Ecosystem, as the island's third Ramsar Listed Wetland Cluster of International Importance, as opposed to Single or Individual Site (under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance). For reference, 38 Villus have been recorded within Flood Plains, while 20 Villus have been documented within Somawathiya (a total of 58 Villus), and that isn't taking into account the countless other Villus which are located outside these two national parks, but within the Greater Mahaweli Flood Plain Ecosystem. Finally this petition calls for accountability, on the part of the DWC (with regard to securing and protecting both Flood Plains and Somawathiya National Parks), as well as the added cooperation of the Department of Forest Conservation (DFC), the Mahaweli Authority of Sri Lanka (MASL) and the Department of Irrigation (DOI), with regard to creating a competent management plan (under which the restoration of seasonal water movements is included), so that the Villus within and outside the Greater Mahaweli Flood Plain Ecosystems PAs can effectively recover and rejuvenate at an ecological level. Dialogue and mutual collaboration between the both the Ministry of Sustainable Development & Wildlife, and the Ministry of Mahaweli Development & Environment would help expedite the resolution of such issues, without incurring both bureaucratic stalemates and barriers (commonplace within Sri Lanka's administrative framework).
SPEAK FOR THE UNSPOKEN
The Sri Lankan leopard is a leopard subspecies native to Sri Lanka. Sadly on Thursday (June 21st), one leopard met a tragic end when it ventured into the Ambalpuram area in Kilinochchi, Sri Lanka. (Many a times this happened. But Sri Lankan Government still did not take an action. The wait is over. It's time for us to unite as a nation and RAISE OUR VOICE AND SPEAK FOR THE UNSPOKEN.) With its habitat being destroyed and disturbed by humans on a daily basis, animals are now heading to cities. Animals that lose their native habitats are forced into new areas in search of shelter and food. Enraged and hungry. Animals who move sometimes come into contact with humans while searching for an area with a better food supply. Sometimes these animals are simply a nuisance, but other times they can attack humans. Sometimes humans relocate the displaced species to an area where they will not interfere with human habitation, but other times humans respond by attacking or killing the threatening or annoying animal. these animals attack human beings and such attacks could be fatal. Humans being the funny animals, pollute the environment with various inventions ranging from automobiles to refrigerators, contaminated fresh water bodies with chemicals, burnt down forests for cultivation and forced the animals to leave their natural habitat. Animals soon started proceeding to cities, and many a times, attacked human beings out of fear, or hunger. BUT CLEARLY THAT'S NOT ANIMALS' FAULT. Being the most intelligent species on the planet, humans have come a long way. From inventions starting from fire and wheel, now we build sky scrappers and send people to Mars. But not much changed for animals other than the fact their environment has been deteriorating due to various factors, human encroachment and interference being one of the prime reasons for these type of things. WHO'S TO BLAME? It’s only humans: • Animal & human population is rising, shrinking habitats • Implementation of environmental laws is also about politics • Roads & power lines block regular routes of wild animals • Food sources are being affected by human intrusion PLEASE TAKE AN ACTION. OUR WILD ANIMALS SHOULD NOT BE KILLED LIKE THIS. THEY WERE GIFTED TO MAKE OUR NATURE EVEN MORE BEAUTIFUL. PEOPLE SHOULD UNDERSTAND THAT WE USE THE ADJECTIVE "WILD" BEFORE THESE ANIMALS, JUST BECAUSE THEY CAN BE DEADLY. WE CAN'T EXPECT SOMETHING SWEET FROM THEM WHEN THEY ARE DISPLACED AND WHEN IN HUNGER. DEFORESTATION IS ONE OF THE KEY RESONS FOR THESE TYPE OF THINGS HAPPEN. PLEASE STOP DEFORESTATION, PLEASE LET OUR VALUABLE SPECIES LIVE IN PEACE. SOMETHING CALLED "HUMANITY" STILL EXISTS. "SPEAK FOR THE UNSPOKEN"
Completely Re - Work the Overall Management Plan for the Sinharaja National Forest Reserve
As the island's largest remaining tract of untouched lowland tropical rainforest, the Sinharaja National Forest Reserve's current overall management plan is in dire need of re - working. Although it was first declared as a National Forest Reserve (referred to in this petition as the Sinharaja NFR) on the 3rd of May 1875 (under the Waste Lands Ordinance), it has since had a second national designation (the highest one available on the island), as well as three international designations attached, and they are as follows (in order of importance): 1. Individual Natural UNESCO World Heritage Site (1989) 2. International UNESCO Man & Biosphere Reserve (April 1978) 3. National Heritage Wilderness Area (National Designation) (October 21st 1988) 4. Important Bird & Biodiversity Area (BirdLife International) (2004) As a result of its two UNESCO designations, the Sinharaja NFR is legally required to be divided into three different zones, and they are as follows (interior to exterior): 1. The Core Zone (strict eco - system and landscape protection/conservation) 2. The Buffer Zone (scientific research and compatible ecological practices) 3. The Transitional or Peripheral Zone (sustainable economic development) If the Sinharaja NFR's overall management plan is to be effectively re - worked then recognition, demarcation and enforcement of the Buffer and Transitional/Peripheral Zones is critical to achieving such a target. To achieve this both the aforementioned zones need to have their overall width increased to 2 miles each (a total of 4 miles). The Buffer Zone should be restricted to eco - system related scientific research and should remain an untouched wilderness, that serves the purpose of safeguarding the Reserve's Core Zone. The Transitional or Peripheral Zone should be divided into two 1 mile width segments, with the inner segment being managed through the planting of tall grass barriers, while the outer segment should be utilised for the purposes of conducting sustainable agriculture/agro - forestry (the latter preferably with floral varieties that are unfavourable to the dietary requirements of the Lowland Tropical Rainforest Elephants living within the Reserve. Finally, all of the villages located within the two aforementioned zones, need to be removed and relocated to suitable locations outside the Reserve's three zones. This would help relieve a large amount of the pressure that is currently placed upon the Reserve on a daily basis, and help reduce instances of the Human - Wildlife Conflict in the Reserve's vicinity (which would be mutually beneficial to all the parties involved). Keep in mind that an estimated 8000 - 10000 people live in 20 villages that almost completely surround the Reserve, so assistance for the removals and relocations mentioned above, should be be sought from the relevant Divisional Secretariats, the Land Reform Commission, the Central Environmental Authority and the appropriate Ministries. Additionally, the Reserve is (for management purposes), divided into two sectors and four sub - sectors by the Department of Forest Conservation (hereafter referred to as the DFC), due to the different types of eco - regions that the Reserve covers: 1. The Western Sector (Lowland Tropical Rainforest) Further divided into North Western & South Western Sub - Sectors2. The Eastern Sector (Sub - Montane or Lower Montane Forest) Further divided into North Eastern & South Eastern Sub - SectorsThe Eastern Sector of the Sinharaja NFR (both sub - sectors included) (hereafter referred to as Eastern Sinharaja) is of particular importance to the scientific community, due to its location in the nearly completely devastated Sub - Montane Wet Zone. The forests found in this eco - region are unique, and different ecologically to the island's Lowland Tropical Rainforests and Cloud Montane Forests. This forest type is also (as of the 28th of June 2018), the most critically threatened forest type on the island, occupying only 0.05% of the island, even though only an estimated 45% of the flora and fauna contained within such forests is known to science. Furthermore, Eastern Sinharaja's terrain is extremely hilly and nearly impassible, thereby making this sector inaccessible to the vast majority of the island's human population. This has resulted in Eastern Sinharaja's retention of forests and eco - systems that are millions of years old and virtually untouched, creating a "Lost World" that continues to inspire, amaze and interest the general public, despite the technological advancements of the 21st century. It also needs to be noted, that the Sinharaja NFR is part of its own Collective Protected Area (hereafter referred to as a CPA), the South Western Biodiversity Super Cluster, and is the largest Protected Area (hereafter referred to as a PA) in the heavily fragmented Sinharaja Rainforest Complex which includes a number of PAs: 1. The Dellawa P.R. (Other State Forest) 2. The Morapitiyarunakanda P.R. (Other State Forest) 3. The Waratalgoda P.R. (Other State Forest) 4. The Neluketiyamukalana P.R. (Other State Forest) 5. The Kudumiriya P.R. (Other State Forest) 6. The Delgoda Conservation Forest Any re - worked management plan, needs to include the six PAs mentioned above and ensure the integration of such PAs into the Sinharaja NFR, an action that will increase the current size of the Reserve (298 square kilometres), to a size that is more conducive to its long term future. Furthermore, there is an estimated 2500 acres of unprotected, primary Lowland Tropical Rainforest under the control of the Land Reform Commission (hereafter referred to as the LRC), which needs to be integrated into the Sinharaja NFR (as a result of Cabinet Paper No. PS/CS/26/2004, dated as on the 22nd of July 2004), an action that after 18 years, has yet to actually be implemented. This would expand the overall size of the Reserve to 323 square kilometres, especially important for the last remaining Lowland Tropical Rainforest Elephants (one of the island's three regional Elephant variants), as it would ensure the expansion of their continuously dwindling range, thus contributing towards their future existence. As of the 28th of June 2018, there are only two such Elephants in the Sinharaja NFR, both of which are males (and are thought to be siblings). Since there are no female Elephants of this regional variant present, these two males have turned their sexual frustrations into anger, and directed it towards certain villages on the Reserve's Boundary (i.e. where the Core and Buffer Zones converge). It is very important to remember, that this anger is entirely justified as the inhabitants of certain villages engage in illegal activities such as deforestation, poaching, illicit alcohol production, land grabbing, unauthorised construction etc, etc, and have tried to badly maim/murder the two aforementioned Elephants, in order to freely carry out such illegal activities. Additionally, plantation companies involved in tea and rubber production, have illegally encroached upon several historical Elephant corridors, blocking the Elephants traditional (localised) migratory routes. Under this much pressure, retaliation by these two Elephants is expected, but such issues are solvable. The introduction of 2 - 4 domesticated female Lowland Tropical Rainforest Elephants (following a period of rehabilitation and close monitoring), would satisfy the needs of the two Bulls, and lay the groundwork for the recovery of this regional variant's overall population (important given the fact that historically, the highest density of Elephants on the island, was found within the Wet - Zone's Lowland Tropical Rainforests, Sub - Montane or Lower Montane Forests and Cloud Montane Forests). Currently the two Sinharaja Bull Elephants traverse the length and breadth of the Reserve's Eastern Sector, alongside (potentially) the highest density of Black Leopards on the island. This is a result of a recessive allele, which in Leopards tends to emerge in the tallest, thickest, greenest forest types, which usually are low in light penetration (in this case the three forest types mentioned above have the highest chance of ensuring the birth of a Black Leopard). Based on the number of Black Leopards that have been killed on the Reserve's Boundary, estimates have suggested that there are anywhere between 10 - 20 Black Leopards living in the Sinharaja NFR (with the majority of them inhabiting the Reserve's Eastern Sector). The issues surrounding the last two Lowland Tropical Rainforest Elephants evolved into a serious political struggle between the Ministry of Sustainable Development, Wildlife and Regional Development (hereafter referred to as the MSDWRD) and the Ministry of Mahaweli Development and Environment (hereafter referred to as the MMDE), following the decisions made by both the Minister (Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka) and the Deputy Minister (Palitha Thewarapperuma) of the MSDWRD (due to the demands of two particular villages located on the Reserve's Boundary), to remove and relocate the two Elephants in question, inevitably signing their death warrants, given their specialist behaviours and dietary requirements as a regional variant. However, thanks to the intervention of the Minister (President Maithripala Sirisena) of the MMDE, this action was halted indefinitely, before it was carried out. This state of affairs has also undermined the authority and mandate of the DFC, as the Department of Wildlife Conservation (hereafter referred to as the DWC), was selected to carry out the removal and relocation operation. Adding to the already hostile rivalry between the DFC and the DFC (with the same applying to their parent ministries), the selection of the DWC resulted in public erosion of the DFC's control and authority over the Sinharaja NFR. Ergo, if the DFC is to effectively manage and safeguard the Reserve, then the DWC should never be allowed to undermine the DFC's mandate in any manner, ever again. Instead, the DWC should follow the lead of the DFC, with regards to the administration of the Reserve's wildlife, and work in conjunction with the former, to achieve the goals relating to wildlife conservation in and around Sinharaja (i.e. through cooperation, knowledge sharing and diffusion). For those who aren't aware, the Sinharaja NFR is among the top five most valuable PAs on the island, with a floral endemism percentage that is over 60% and a faunal endemism percentage that is over 50% (extremely impressive, given the Reserve's currently dwindling size). As far as large or "charismatic" mammalian fauna are concerned, the overall populations aren't as secure or numerous as those in the island's Dry - Zone, though the sheer variety and number of endemic avian fauna is more than enough to make up for this large mammalian fauna deficit. Species such as the Sri Lankan Wood Pigeon, the Red - Faced Malkoha, the Green - Billed Coucal, the Sri Lankan Blue Magpie and the Sri Lankan Hanging Parrot, are among the numerous avian endemics that inhabit the Reserve. Examples of endemic mammalian fauna include the Southern Lowland Wet - Zone Purple - Faced Langur (alternatively known as the Purple - Faced Leaf Monkey) and the Sri Lankan Leopard. Other genera that display high degrees of endemism include Reptiles and Amphibians (the latter of which has nine species identified as endemic). It should be noted that as far as flora is concerned, the average height of the Reserve's canopy is between 35 - 40 metres on average, with certain heights (impressively) exceeding 50 metres. Additionally the Reserve is an ecological laboratory for butterflies (which form an order classified as Lepidoptera), with over 50% of the aforementioned order identified as endemics to the island's Lowland Wet - Zone. All of the steps mentioned above are absolutely necessary to ensure the Reserve's future, indirectly and directly benefiting the numerous communities that depend on the Reserve's existence, for their financial needs, thereby enhancing the standards of living and education in the process. As such, the support of the general public is needed, in order to bring about the changes (as well as the associated, positive dividends) mentioned above, safeguarding the Sinharaja National Forest Reserve.