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17th May 1998

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Kala Corner

‘... and Wilderness is paradise enow’

It was a fascinating expe rience - seeing some lesser-known lensmen turning out some fine specimens of wildlife photography. A hundred and fifty two entries from 25 photographers comprised the exhibits of their work in Vanadivi Asiriya - ‘The Beauty of the Wilderness’ at the Art Gallery last week.

They are all members of the Wildlife Trust Photographic Society and this was their first exhibition. Their efforts showed potential and there was ample proof that they are an enthusiastic lot.

Mathew’s ‘Ceylon green bee eater’ won the first place in the competition with Hermione Ratnayake (Alone at the top) and Palitha Antony (Visitors from overseas) getting the second and third places. Seven won certificates.

Award winners in four special categories were: Jayasiri Wickremasinghe (Sisila- Cool) - Best Artistic Photograph; Nipula Gunasekera (Nidahasa - Freedom) -Best Nature Photograph; T. N. K. Weerakkody ( Skulk of Beauty )- Best Wildlife Photography, and A G Maduwage (Mulawa - Mislead) - Best Rare Photograph.

A feature of the exhibition was the large number of photographs featuring elephants. There were some quite interesting ones although none had won a prize.

Their commitment

“We are committed to the protection of the flora and fauna of Sri Lanka. We hope to foster a greater awareness of our obligation to ensure that the island’s life sustaining ecology survives intact for future generations. To this end, the role of the wildlife photographer is important” says the Wildlife Trust Photographic Society’s Chairman Jinasiri Dadallage. (He is also the Executive Director of the Wildlife Trust).

In a message to the Exhibition souvenir, Director Wildlife Conservation Berty Jayasekera said the conservation of wildlife in Sri Lanka and the resolution of the severe human-animal conflict (specially the elephant) are the two major challenging issues the Department is faced with.

“This situtaion calls for scientific management plans based on authentic information and research. In this context, photography plays an important role as support to information and wildlife research with special emphasis on the diverse physical environment of Sri Lankan forests and the biodiversity,” he says.

Wildlife literature

With a lot of reading mate-rial already available in English on wildlife conservation, it is commendable that the Wildlife Trust has turned out a series of leaflets in Sinhala. Sold at very reasonable prices, there were quite a few who picked them up at the exhibition.

The WildLife shops run by the Trust offer posters, stickers, gifts and souvenir items for those who are interested. The Trust has just moved to 229, Kirula Road, Narahenpita. There is a shop at 349 Galle Road, Kollupitiya too.

The Trust runs a Centre (they call it the T R E E Centre) at Randenigala and invites those interested to plan their training programmes, conferences and workshops, nature observation, wildlife expeditions and nature appeciation excursions at the Centre.

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