HELPING SAVE SRI LANKA’S RAINFOREST
Sinharaja Rainforest is Sri Lanka’s only rainforest national park, that is need of lots of help. Although it has been designated as a biosphere reserve and a UNESCO world Heritage site, it is losing its fight against human destruction. It is 21 km * 7 km and becoming smaller and smaller, because people are destroying it for commercial gain, such as tea plantations.
Local people and commercial companies rent the rainforest land and chop the tropical wet evergreen forest down and re-plant tea bushes. Also, the guides and villagers are not educated on how and why it is important to preserve the rainforest, so they harvest it and destroying it for self gain or are not aware of the sever impacts that they’re actions are having. Save the Sinharaja Rainforest Campaign is working hard to ensure no more damage is done to the rainforest and preserve it, in all its natural beauty.
The Sinharaja has a high vegetation density around, 24,000 per hectare, so this does not only have an effect on the rainforest itself but also the wildlife that live there, such as leopards, elephants, wilds cats, monkies and lots more. There are only 2 elephants left in the wild now, and are under daily political threat of being moved to another area because they are males and when in season, sometimes charge into villages, creating chaos and killing locals.
How the rainforest is being destroyed:
1. Exploitation of the area
Logging in the Sinharaja Rainforest has been going on since the 70’s. Even though it has been banned, people still cut down the trees for their own personal gain.
Borders are being encroached
Because the borders are not displayed clearly, people are encroaching them, so naturally is is getting smaller and smaller.
Mining for gems, is big here and destroying the rainforest at the same time.
Camera and video trapping
This is where traps are set up for people to be able to film animals secretly. This has killed many of the animals, including five rare black leopards in the last five years, however it has still not been banned.
2. Unawareness of villagers and guides
Rangers and guides
There is no special training given, so they sometimes take dogs, leave cigarette buts and drop litter.
Using vehicles in the rainforest, such as moped and motorcycles. Also leaving waste and chopping the rain forest down for personal gain.
Mainly commercial property owners create paths for their guests to enjoy, destroying the rainforest in the process.
What Save the Sinharaja Rainforest Campaign has done so far
The main way that this campaign has been saving the rainforest is by emailing politicians and organisations, for support and the response has been encouraging so far.
The Founder of Sinharaja Rainforest Campaign, Sidney Karunawardana was born and raised within the rainforests of the Sinharaja region of Sri Lanka. He is passionate and loyal to the course of saving the rainforest where his family lived for many of years and he still lives today.
Plans for the future
Raising awareness by:
– Educational workshop for villagers
– Educating Local kids at schools
– Involving and and educating kids and villagers of the problems, to gain more attention from politicians and organisations.
How I am helping
I am helping by volunteering my time and helping out with some of their online presence and social marketing. A friend who I am currently travelling with, is creating wall art for the villagers to see and educate themselves on how important it is to preserve the rainforest.
If you want to become a volunteer too, get invloved!
You can stay at Sinharaja Tranquil Homestay, whilst helping and absorb all its natural beauty it has to offer.