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|Year and Month||January, 2012 (2nd)|
|Number of Days||One Day|
|Crew||6 (between 13-50 years of age)|
|Transport||a 4WD SUV|
|Activities||Education trip Sight-seeing, Wildlife, Birding, Photography, Boating, Relaxing|
|Tips, Notes and Special Remarks||
|Comments||Discuss this trip report, provide feedback or make suggestions at Lakdasun Forum on the thread|
On a small hillock overlooking the picturesque Hiyare Reservoir, surrounded by a beautiful low country tropical forest, lies a little haven for wildlife – The Hiyare Conservation Centre of the Wildlife Conservation Society, Galle.
Founded in 1993 in collaboration with the Maritime Museum of Galle, the society’s mission is “Conservation of nature through environmental education & research”. That mission has not been limited to just words, mind you. You can see some SERIOUS ACTION being taken from teaching the importance of conservation to school children, carrying workshops around the country on topics such as identification of snakes and what to do in case of snake-bites, to preserving and enlarging wildlife habitats of the Purple-Faced Leaf Lagurs, treatment, rehabilitation and responsible release of rescued wildlife at their animal hospital, and dedicated research such as the first in situ breeding program for frog Ramanella nagoi in Sri Lanka, and the Primate Research conducted at Sinharaja.. AND all this is all done by young volunteer staff with limited funds from the private sector, moved purely by their love for wildlife! This true volunteer spirit, dedication, determination and hard work have led to many important research discoveries, the most significant so far being the discovery of a new species of white monkeys from the Sinharaja Rain Forest. This white monkey is a color morph of the Southern Purple-faced Leaf Langur (Semnopithecus vetulus vetulus) and details of the research work can be found here
So what better place to visit if you are serious about conservation and want to instill the seed of conservation in kids?! With the completion of the Southern Highway and an entrance just minutes away from home, there was no excuse to put it off any longer. So off we went, one fine January morning.
The first thing that captivates you when you reach the top of the hillock where the center is located, is the tranquility and beauty of the place. The Hiyare Reservoir, a manmade reservoir once built to supply water to the city of Galle, is now a calm blue oasis surrounded by the green green Hiyare Rainforest – which is an extension of the Kottawa Khombala Forest Reserve.
The Galle Municipal Council should be truly commended for permitting the Wildlife Conservation Society of Galle (WCSG) to establish their conservation center on this land, and their continuing support of the society and its work. This initiative by the Galle Municipal Council is a benchmark for other local authorities to work with the public and support conservation and education towards a greener society. Hopefully more municipals would follow.
The Conservation Center consists of the Animal hospital, and the Hiyare Biodiversity and Education Center which has a dormitory and library.
We had heard that it is good place to see snakes, but unluckily, the snakes had just been taken away for release on the day we arrived. However, the animal hospital alone was well worth the visit, as it had several “patients” we had never seen up close.
This is the Cat family’s smallest member and found only in India and Sri Lanka. Listed as ” Vulnerable”by IUCN.
Wikipedia says “In Sri Lanka, the rusty-spotted cat is known as “Handun Diviya” or “Kola Diviya”. The terms ‘Handun Diviya’ and ‘Kola Diviya’ are also used by the local community to refer to the Fishing Cat. Both animals are nocturnal and elusive, and therefore it is difficult to determine, which cat is specifically referred to as ‘Handun Diviya'”
sorry the right picture is blurry..he snarled at us and then quickly hid his face refusing to give me another chance
Finally it was time to explore the breathtaking and peaceful Hiyare reservoir. The boat ride was so calm and peaceful- A fitting finish to a wonderful morning.
We were guided by Research Assitant Sampath Udugampola and I would like to take this opportunity to thank him for showing us around, despite being understaffed that day. Special thanks to Nadika Hapuarachchi an Administrator of the Center and Lakdasun member for the kind quick arrangement! Do hope you will develop a way for people who visit the place and any others who want to help can contribute towards your conservation efforts, maintenance of the centre etc.
Continue the wonderful work guys!!
Please visit their facebook page also to see the great work.