FORMING PARTNERSHIPS TO PRESERVE SRI LANKA'S BIODIVERSITY
The Sri Lanka Wildlife Conservation Society (SLWCS) is the first organization established outside of Sri Lanka with the sole purpose to conserve the dwindling biodiversity of Sri Lanka. After researching Human Elephant Conflict in Sri Lanka, the SLWCS initiated its first project in 1997 with the community-based initiative, Saving Elephants by Helping People (SEHP). The SLWCS began exploring ways to resolve the increasing threats associated with human-elephant conflict and its relationship with poverty. Wildlife conservation is not a stand-alone enterprise, but one best tackled simultaneously with community participation in order to ensure long-term success and viability of protecting wildlife.
In the last decade the SLWCS has grown in scope, increasing project aims to include both economic and community development and expanded its reach, developing new projects around the country. Yet, the SEHP approach has become the trademark of SLWCS's operational style. An innovative, multi-faceted approach with a strong scientific base integrated witheconomic incentives is necessary for success. Experiences over the last decade have led the SLWCS to work towards a new model of sustainable conservation, one in which all stakeholders are involved in the decision making processes and ultimately share the benefits from the work done. Presently, our efforts include:
- Assessments (Sociological, Economical, and Ecological) of the diverse habitats of threatenedspecies, landscapes, and communities
- Implementation of projects for the protection of biodiversity in priority areas
- Development of ecological awareness in Sri Lanka and internationally.
- Additionally, we strive to promote cooperation between government institutions and local communities in order to find strategic long-term solutions.