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 on: September 10, 2013, 05:41:49 am 
Started by indunil - Last post by indunil
The Yala National Park will be closed for visitors in September, a Wildlife Conservation Department spokesperson said.

The spokesperson said bookings of bungalows would not be allowed for local or foreign visitors from September 1 to 30. She said the park will open to visitors again in October.

The spokesperson said during the period of closure, maintenance work of bungalows and the park would be carried out.

She said as Yala is always crowded with visitors, closing the park for a short period during the drought season of every year is a usual practice to allow wild animals to rest.

The Yala National Park that consists of five blocks is the most visited and the second largest national park in Sri Lanka. It spreads over an area of 1,260 square kilometers.a

Daily news

 on: September 10, 2013, 05:18:48 am 
Started by indunil - Last post by indunil
Horagolla is a well known place in Sri Lanka due to it being the ancestral home of the famous Bandaranaike family, which produced three Sri Lankan Prime Ministers. The Horagolla Estate was once a vast extent of land which in 1973 former Prime Minister Sirimavo Bandaranaike donated 33 acres under the land Acquisition Act to the State.

The rich Bio-diversity of the donated land led to the Wildlife Department to converting it into a sanctuary which on July 28, 2004 was named as the Horagolla National Park

The area is called Horagolla due to the abundance of Hora trees found in the vicinity. If you travel about one kilometre from Nittambuwa to Veyangoda, you will arrive at the Pinnagolla junction. About 600 m on the left turn at the junction is the entrance to the park. This is the smallest National park in Sri Lanka. It is situated about 40 km from Colombo.

A magnificent lake by the entrance unfolds before your eyes. Its spectacular scenery, such as the green forest cover and pristine water area treat for the eyes. The temperature at Horagolla which belongs to the low-country wet zone, ranges between 27 to 29 C and the South West monsoon brings the rain. The roads inside the park are attractively paved with stones and numbered with arrows to enable visitors to find their way with ease. The full length of this path runs through the forest about one and a half kilometres
The tall trees are well covered overhead with their thick spread of leaves providing a canopy and the desired effect of darkness in the forest. At every cross road in the interior, stone benches provide seating accommodation for tired visitors.

The mammals include the Fishing cat, Sri Lankan Spotted Chevrotain, Golden Jackal and Grizzled giant squirrel which have been recognized as perment residents in the Horagolla National Park. Visitors are advised to keep to the path in this revere. Silence and patience is a must. Otherwise you will not be able to see the animals.

This park is very rich with flora and fauna which include Hora (Dipterocavpus zeylanicus), Kekuna (Canrium zeylanicus), Godapara (Dillenia rrtusa), Kithul (Caryota urens), Nedun (Pericopsis mooniana), Atamba (Mangifera zeylanica), Ruk Attana, Ankenda, Milla (Vitex pinnata) and moonamal. Invasive species such as Indian del are also common.

A giant Puss Wela (Liana rheedii) which is more than 250 years old also can be seen. Among the vine creepers are Korasawel, Garadia wel, Suduwel and Bambara wel found in this park. Also Wenivel, which is in the herbal category and Watessa plant that covers most of the wet ground

About 64 bird species are found in the park. The most common of them are the Parakeet, Black-crested bul bul, Barbet asian koel and Asian brown flycatcher.

The Sri Lankan grey Hornbill, Sri Lankan Hanging parrot and Layard's parakeet can also be spotted. The park also records various kinds of butterflies such as Ceylon bird wing, Blue mormon, rare clipper.

As in most sanctuaries, Horagolla is a haven for reptiles. Russell's viper, Green wipe snake, Pythons, Cobra, Cat snake and Kangaroo Lizard (pinum kattussa same name) are also found at Horagolla National park

Adjoining the Horagolla wewa is a beautiful summer hut built for visitors to rest at the end of their walk through the forest. In the same location is an Animal museum and centre which treats injured animals. At breeding centre is a pair of Stunted Deer (Olu Muwa).

This National park at Horagolla is a place where people can enjoy the beauty of nature. It is indeed a place of value for students of the flora and fauna. No special permission is required for an ordinary visit other than for research of scientific experiment.

The Horagolla National Park is truly worth a visit by both young and old and is certain to etch in-erasable memories
Daily News Paper cutting

 on: September 10, 2013, 05:15:28 am 
Started by indunil - Last post by indunil
We left on an expedition to the Angamedilla National Park from Giritale and couple of hours later reached Diggalpitiya and then crossed Radavige Oya, a branch of Ambanganga for a break.

On the other side of the road, I noticed a statue of God Ganesh's under a big tree and watched as a passer-by hung small leaves and worshipped the statue. This traditional observance is usually done by villagers as protection from animals and other things. We too hung leaf branches before continuing our journey.

Abundance of greenery was a sign that the entrance to park was closed. A wayside notice board in Sinhala which however was upside down, indicated that there were road blocks every 100 metres.

Angamedilla Park Warden Sunil Shantha with his assistant was at the park office to welcome us.
Angamedilla is the latest in the list of National Parks in Sri Lanka declared by the Wildlife Department on July 6, 2006.

It falls under the Dry Zone evergreen forest and board the catchment area of the Parakrama Samudraya. The temperature ranges between C 20-34 degrees in dry period while the annual rainfall is between 1,200 - 2,000 mm received from North East Monsoon which starts from September to February.

The Angamedilla National Park is spread over an extent of 8,729 hectares of land bordering the Parakrama Samudraya in North, Yoda Ela in the East, Ambanganga in the South and Radavige Oya in the West.

This national park is situated 225 km from Colombo and is approachable via Dambulla, Kandalama and Bakamuna. Another route is from Giritale via Elahera, Diyabeduma, Attanakadawela and Diggalpitiya from where you can turn to the right and travel for 3km to come to the entrance.

King Parakramabahu is stated to have built the stone anicut in Angamedilla to divert water from Ambanganga through the Yoda Ela to Parakrama Samudraya, which is opposite to the main entrance. After walking under a canopy of trees into the forest campsite (200m from the stone anicut), we proceeded to the safari with Sunil Shantha driving and doing the guiding.

We passed a holiday bungalow in Angamedilla. This area not only provides facilities of holiday bungalows for visitors but also two camp site to choose from.

The start of our safari was the Elephant holding ground although the Wildlife Department had spent good amount of money for the construction to be completed three years ago, it is yet to open. The slight drizzle turned into rain as we left in the jeep, into the forest

A herd of a wild-boar scampered into the thicket on hearing the noise of our vehicle. But a pair of jungle fowl carried on regardless.

The Sri Lankan elephant, sambar deer, Indian muntjac, axis deer, Wildboar, Grizzled giant squirrel and Porcupines inhabit this green forest along with the Red slender loris, Tufted gray longur and purple faced longur. The reptiles recorded here are Vipers, Cobra, Gold and Black tree snake and pythons. Among the birds are Pita Rat Kerala (Red backed woodpecker), Red Faced Mal Koha (Watha Rathu Mal Koha), Nil Peda Biguharaya (Blue tailbee-eater), Indian Peafowl, Sri Lanka gray hornbill, Red wattled lapwing, Ceylon paradise-fly catcher, Refous-winged bushlark and Brahmini kite.

We crossed a few streams and Samanala (butterfly) bridge and continued through thick tree scrubs, grassland and muddy spots.

The most common of flora and fauna seen in abundance were Weera, Kohoba, Kaluwara, Milla, Velan, Dhaba and Kumbuk along the river bank.

The rain affected our tour and our jeep got struck twice in the mud but ultimately we reached Mahaiyawa Wewa at the other end. We were surprised by the magnificent environment at Mahaiyawa Wewa. Its gave a spectacular scene of the 470 feet hig Sudu Kanda in the background of the reserve.

Sudu de Thuduwa (Black headed ibis), Karawel Koka (Perple Heron), Diyakawa (Great Comarent), Kahameti Koka, Sudu Medi Koka, (Intermediate Egret) and Lathwekiya (Painted Strokes) were seen in most places. We used the same track on our return to the park office with an experience unforgetable

Daily  News Paper cutting

 on: September 10, 2013, 05:01:00 am 
Started by indunil - Last post by indunil
Kaudulla National Park, situated alongside the Kaudulla tank, said to have built by Princess Biso Bandara a sister of King Mahasen is one of the prominent national parks of Sri Lanka.

The park is unique as, it is the only national park where a one-third of its area is surrounded by water.

Situated in the Polonnaruwa District, it is in the AGA divisions of Medirigiriya and Hingurakgoda and comprising the villages of Rathmale, Gal Oya, Rotawewa, Sinhagama, Kituluthuwa, Divulankadawala, Viharagama, Tissapura, Meniksorowwa and Kaudulla. The western border of the Kaudulla Park signifies a chain of mountains about 60,500 metre in height. And in the east it borders are the Kaudulla tank and a scrubby forest.

The region receives an annual rainfall of 1,500 to 2,000 milimetres from the rain from the North East monsoon. A dry period persists from April to October and temperatures range from 20.6 centigrade (69.1 F) to 34.5 centigrade (94.1 F).

Many plant and grass species grow well during the rainy season and due to the abundance of food and water, even during the dry period, large number of herbivorous mammals are attracted to the park.

Most of the tourists visit the park during the dry season as it is referred to as the spring season of the park.

But according to tourism experts the best time to visit Kaudulla national Park is between August and December, as the population of elephants peak to over 200 in September and October.

Apart from the elephants Kaudulla is home to 23 species of mammals including Sambar deer, Sri Lankan Axis deer, Chevrotain, wild boar, leopard and sloth bear. But a leopard or a sloth bear is sighted very rarely. This park is also one of the sites in which the Gray slender loris is reportedly found in Sri Lanka. Following the discovery of a two-month old albino Sri Lankan axis beer calf. Kaudulla is probably the only national park in Sri Lanka where albino axis deer exists

Many plant and grass species grow well during the rainy season and due to the abundance of food and water, even during the dry period, large number of herbivorous mammals are attracted to the park.

Most of the tourists visit the park during the dry season as it is referred to as the spring season of the park.

But according to tourism experts the best time to visit Kaudulla national Park is between August and December, as the population of elephants peak to over 200 in September and October

In addition, the national park recorded 25 species of reptiles, 26 species of fish and 160 species of birds. Among the large water birds spot-billed. Pelicans, Lesser Adjutant, Asian Spoonbill, Grey-headed fish eagle, black-headed ibis painted stork, open bill stork are common sights in the park.

It is also home to freshwater turtles, flap-shelled turtle and Indian black turtle.

In addition to watching wild life, tourists and local visitors are provided with many facilities which include a museum, paddle boat service, two camp sites and a tourist bungalow.

According to the officer in charge of the Kaudulla National Park Eranda Gamage, this park was established on April, 2002, and is maintained by the Wild Life Department. He also points out that Kaudulla also connects Somawathiya National and Minneriya and Wasgomuwa National Parks and is helping roaming elephants and other wild life to prevail and travel in larger areas.

He also states that the tourists who visit the park are provided with knowledgeable guides free of charge and they are able to stay at the tourist bungalow which can be booked at the head office in Colombo

Daily news

 on: September 08, 2013, 06:46:31 am 
Started by indunil - Last post by indunil

A new study carried out by researchers at the University of Bristol, tries to answer the question everyone has asked themselves at least once: 'Why do leopards have spots and tigers have stripes?' They studied 35 species of wild cats and analysed their fur markings, to understand what makes them have such different patterns on their fur.

The researchers photographed different details in the looks of the cats and integrated them into a mathematical model of pattern development.

The conclusion was that the animals that lived in the trees, in dense habitats and were active at low levels of light, have the most chances to be pattern. These very complex and irregular models on their fur have probably evolved to help the cats have a good camouflage.

This link between environment and fur patterns is quite strong but after looking at the evolutionary history, we can see that these patterns can evolve but also disappear quite fast. It also gives an explanation to why black leopards are common but black cheetahs are unknown - leopards live in several habitats and also behave differently. Several environments allow one species to develop original colours and patterns and to make them permanent in a population.

The explanation linking leopards' patterns with environment is plausible but it also highlighted some exceptions: some cheetahs have spots even though they live in open spaces, while the bay cat and the flat-headed cat, who prefer closed habitats have plain coats. Another intriguing thing is that out of the 35 species, only one cat has vertically elongated patterns, that had nothing to do with grasslands: the tiger. On the other hand, tigers seem to camouflage really well so why don't other animals have vertical stripes too?

There are still questions to be answered, but this method confirms Rudyard Kipling's explanation of leopard's spots and the environment "full of trees and bushes and stripy, speckly, patchy-blatchy shadows".

Sunday Observer

 on: September 08, 2013, 05:38:02 am 
Started by indunil - Last post by indunil

Allen Cay in the Bahamas, an important breeding site for Audubon’s Shearwater and home of an eponymous endemic iguana, has been declared free of the invasive house mice which were threatening both species.

“This announcement is a major milestone for the recovery of Allen Cay, and we plan to replicate this success on other islands being damaged by invasive alien species,” said Eric Carey, Executive Director of BirdLife Partner the Bahamas National Trust (BNT).

The cay was de-moused by a partnership including BNT, Island Conservation, Dr John Iverson of Earlham College, and Dr Will Mackin, Seabird Co-Chair of the Society for the Conservation and Study of Caribbean Birds.

Allen Cay is one of three cays in the Allen’s Cays Important Bird and Biodiversity Area (IBA), in the northern Exuma Islands 60 km southeast of Nassau. The IBA supports the third largest breeding population of Audubon’s Shearwaters Puffinus lherminieri lherminieri in the Bahamas, as well as the Allen Cay Rock Iguana Cyclura cychlura inornata, which is listed as Endangered by the IUCN.

The inadvertent introduction of non-native house mice led to an artificially high population of normally transient Barn Owls, which stayed to eat the mice, but ate shearwaters and young iguanas too. The shearwater mortality rate was twice as high on Allen Cay as nearby cays without mice.

Beginning in 2009,  the partners conducted extensive planning, field trials and public outreach. The Bahamas Ministry of Environment authorised the project in April 2012, and the mice were removed in the following month.

In the first week of June this year, the partners visited the Cay, confirmed the absence of mice, and noted early signs of a recovering island ecosystem. Preliminary findings suggest a significant drop in shearwater mortality.

Mouse removal is part of a larger effort to restore the natural environment of Allen Cay. To minimise the risk of mouse reintroduction, BNT will develop a biosecurity plan, and work with recreational boaters and fishers.

“Invasive species are the leading threat to the Caribbean’s rich biodiversity”, said David Wege, BirdLife’s Caribbean Programme Director. “By building local partnerships and training practitioners in the region in invasive species removal techniques, we are increasing capacity for island restoration to permanently protect the Caribbean’s native species.”

Funding support was provided by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s Recovered Oil Fund for Wildlife. Charter boat operator Powerboat Adventures and the John G. Shedd Aquarium also made significant contributions

BirdLife News

 on: September 07, 2013, 06:55:36 am 
Started by indunil - Last post by indunil

Land acquisitions to help protect one of world's rarest birds
Two new key properties have been acquired in northern Peru that will expand Abra Patricia Reserve to over 25,000 acres and help protect habitat for one of the world's rarest birds, the Long-whiskered Owlet, along with 23 other globally threatened species.

Critical habitat
The acquisitions were funded by American Bird Conservancy (ABC) and completed by Asociación Ecosistemas Andinos (ECOAN), ABC's partner in Peru. When combined with three other properties purchased by the two groups in January and February 2013, the newly acquired lands total 1,261 acres. The Abra Patricia area is recognized by the Alliance for Zero Extinction as a critical site for both the endangered Long-whiskered Owlet as well as the endangered Ochre-fronted Antpitta.

The Long-whiskered Owlet - discovered in 1976,
The Long-whiskered Owlet, which was only discovered in 1976, is one of the tiniest owls in the world, measuring only five inches tall. The bird's long, wispy facial feathers extend out past its head, creating the appearance of long whiskers.

The reserve at Abra Patricia consists of land privately owned by ECOAN as well as a 40-year conservation concession on forestry lands. When added to the recent acquisitions, the reserve now totals more than 25,000 acres managed by ECOAN for conservation.

These land acquisitions continue a string of recent successes ECOAN and ABC have celebrated in northern Peru. Their recent reforestation campaign resulted in completion of a new tree nursery at La Union, just north of Abra Patricia Reserve, and the planting of nearly 75,000 native trees and 25,000 coffee bushes in a variety of mixed forest, shade agriculture, silvipasture, and living fence systems on private lands near reserves. Those reserves were established to improve habitat on degraded lands for resident and migratory birds. Communities involved in the effort included San Lucas de Pomacochas and surrounding villages who are working to establish new protected areas for the communities' forests and watershed.

Twenty-three globally threatened species
The Abra Patricia Reserve is located in cloud forests in the Department of Amazonas and is adjacent to the Alto Mayo Protected Forest. The area is home to more than 300 bird species including many endemic to Peru. Twenty-three of these species are considered globally threatened. In addition to the Long-whiskered Owlet and Ochre-fronted Antpitta, other rare, threatened birds include the Royal Sunangel, Johnson's Tody-Tyrant, Ochre-breasted Tody-Tyrant, and Pale-billed Antpitta. Several songbirds that breed in North America, such as the Swainson's Thrush, Blackburnian Warbler, and Cerulean Warbler, winter in the forests of Abra Patricia, as well. Abra Patricia is also home to the critically endangered yellow-tailed woolly monkey and a diversity of other wildlife and rare orchids.

One of the premier birding destinations in Peru
Located along the Northern Peru Birding Route, Abra Patricia is one of the premier birding destinations in Peru, itself one of the premier countries for birding in the world. The Owlet Lodge at Abra Patricia often serves as a base for birding tourists who typically spend several days at other regional birding spots, such as Waqanki, Huembo, and Gotas de Agua. Owlet Lodge is a four- to five-hour drive from the airport in Tarapoto, and the spectacular Marvelous Spatuletail hummingbird can be seen just an hour's drive away at Huembo Reserve. To learn more about the ecotourism and birding opportunities in the Abra Patricia region, visit our Conservation Birding website.

Support for the land protection and acquisition, as well as the community programs and reforestation efforts, was generously provided by the IUCN NL / Small Grants for the Purchase of Nature (SPN) sponsored by the Netherlands Postcode Lottery, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service under the Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act, DJ & T Foundation, Gulf Coast Bird Observatory Tropical Forests Forever Fund, Jeniam Foundation, The Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund, New England BioLabs Foundation, Lorna & Mike Anderberg, Cathy & Warren Cooke, Patricia & David Davidson, Nancy and Dick Eales, Joyce Millen & David Harrison, Stephen Rumsey, the Robert Wilson Charitable Trust, and Connie & Jeff Woodman.

 on: September 07, 2013, 06:27:12 am 
Started by indunil - Last post by indunil
 An international team of researchers coordinated by ornithologist Bret Whitney of the LSU Museum of Natural Science, or LSUMNS, recently published 15 species of birds previously unknown to science. The formal description of these birds has been printed in a special volume of the "Handbook of the Birds of the World" series. Not since 1871 have so many new species of birds been introduced under a single cover.

"Birds are, far and away, the best-known group of vertebrates, so describing a large number of uncataloged species of birds in this day and age is unexpected, to say the least," said Whitney. "But what's so exciting about this presentation of 15 new species from the Amazon all at once is, first, highlighting how little we really know about species diversity in Amazonia, and second, showing how technological advances have given us new toolsets for discovering and comparing naturally occurring, cohesive ('monophyletic') populations with other, closely related populations."

Amazonia is home to far more species of birds -- approximately 1,300 -- and more species per unit area, than any other biome. Technological advances such as satellite imagery, digital recordings of vocalizations, DNA analysis and high-powered computation power have taken the age of discovery to the next level, and were key ingredients in the discovery of these new species. However, such discoveries still depend on exploration of remote areas of the Amazon rainforest, just as they did a century ago, and this sort of fieldwork has been carried out by the LSUMNS every year since the early 1960s.

Other ornithologists involved in the project include Mario Cohn-Haft of the Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas da Amazôniain Manaus and Alexandre Aleixo of the Museu Paraense Emílio Goeldi in Belém, both received their Ph.D.s at LSU from the Department of Biological Sciences. Also an author on many of the papers is Luís Fabio Silveira of the Museu de Zoologia da Universidade de São Paulo, which has a formal agreement for collaborative field and laboratory research with the LSUMNS. More than 30 authors participated in the 15 species descriptions, each peer-reviewed as an independent scientific paper. Authors also include ornithologists from Colombia, Argentina and the United Kingdom. Most of the new species were discovered by Whitney and Cohn-Haft by detecting differences in their songs and calls in the field

 on: March 27, 2013, 10:14:46 am 
Started by indunil - Last post by johnrambo
Felt massively grateful to read this post. Got to know many facts about speech-variants.

 on: March 08, 2013, 06:04:35 am 
Started by sulu - Last post by FrozenIceBoy
Wonderful information thank you for sharing this.

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