Incidents of deforestation significantly increased during the last several months throughout Sri Lanka despite the Government pledge to protect the environment. Due to protests by environmentalists and concerned citizens, the Government scrapped plans to distribute (for agri / commercial purposes) approximately 500,000 hectares of forest land belonging to the State. However, threats to the World Heritage Sinharaja Rainforest continued with the widening (upto 20 feet) and expansion (upto 18km) of a road that was once a small foot path through the forest till the early 90s. Environmentalists believe this would be the beginning of increased encroachment and conversion of forest into tea plantations and urbanization. It is clear that we cannot rely on the Government to protect the rainforests, thus the effort to purchase and permanently protect privately held forest lands bordering the World Heritage Sinharaja Rainforest is more important than ever.
Rainforest Protectors Trust has identified several parcels of unprotected forest lands suitable for conservation in the area. To date, we have protected 2 parcels of forest lands rich in biodiversity, one adjoining a river and the other adjoining a stream. However, lack of funds are preventing us from purchasing additional private forest lands that are currently on sale and in danger of being clearcut. Therefore, we urge you to consider making a monthly recurring donation to our GlobalGiving Project even if it is for a small amount. All donations go directly towards purchasing suitable lands for conservation.
During the COVID-19 lockdown, poaching incidents in Sri Lanka recorded an exponential growth as lack of wildlife rangers on ground provided perfect opportunity for poachers and wildlife smugglers to carry out their illegal activities without any restriction. Unfortunately, this resulted in the loss of a very rare Melanistic (Black) Wet Zone Leopard, caught to a poachers snare in the Proposed Buffer Zone of Peak Wilderness Wildlife Sanctuary that later died due to the injuries. It is estimated no more than 3 or 4 Black Leopards remain alive in the country and the loss of this magnificent young and healthy male was a great loss. Worse, just 3 days later, the carcass of another lowland rainforest Leopard killed by a poachers snare was found in Neluwa between Sinharaja World Heritage Rainforest and the adjoining Dellawa Rainforest. The poacher had managed to extract the Leopard teeth and nails to be sold in the black market.
Both poaching incidents happened in private land withing the buffer zone of protected rainforests. Having lost more than 95% of the original rainforests, the remaining lowland and sub-montane tropical rainforest habitat is not large enough for the mega-fauna including the lowland rainforest Elephants and the rainforest Leopards resulting in these animals constantly moving within the buffer zone. This is a prime example of why the initiative carried out by Rainforest Protectors Trust to purchase and permanently protect the privately held forest lands within the buffer zone is vital.
As of June 15th 2020, we have raised close to half of the funds needed to purchase and permanently protect the beautiful 4.5 acre riverine rainforest within the buffer zone of Sinharaja World Heritage Rainforest. We have also identified an addtional 7 acres that is currently on sale nearby which is situated in an area frequently used by the rainforest Elephants of Sinharaja as a corridor to move between fragmented forest patches. Therefore, we are urgently trying to complete the current project with the intention of moving on to protect the additional acres soon as possible. We wish to thank all donors who contributed so far and hope you can help us reach the goal by getting your friends and family to support the project as well as by spreading the word.
On January 27, 2020, Rainforest Protectors Trust expanded its protected area through the purchase and permanent protection of a privately held highly biodiverse 2 acre rainforest bordering Sinharaja World Heritage Rainforest and within close proximity to its main entrance gate. The forest was in immediate danger of being clearcut for expanding tea plantations that has resulted in severe deforestation in nearby area. Through funding provided by MAS Active, Rainforest Protectors Trust was able to purchase and permanently protect this beautiful land under the Trust (Photos attached).
Our GlobalGiving project to protect the 4.5 acre riverine rainforest in Ilumbakanda bordering Sinharaja World Heritage Rainforest has so far raised approximately 40% of the funds necessary to purchase the property. We wish to thank all donors who contributed so far. Please help us reach the goal by getting your friends and family to support the project as well as by spreading the word.
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