University of Moratuwa, Katubedda, Sri Lanka.

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Category: Environment


Life of snake rescuer

The reptile keeping hobby is not as well developed as keeping dogs or cats. Recently I met an amazing person who rescue snakes from all over the country who is like a guardian for serpents. From his childhood take care on serpents is one of his main hobbies in life. Even his room is a room for around 15 serpents as well.

You might think why I’m calling this person an amazing…

Yes, he is amazing. He sacrifices his time and money for this great volunteer service which most of the people will absolutely rejects or scared.

What Exactly is the Role of a Rescuer?

A rescuer is a person who rescues something from harm or danger. In our case, we look at this from both, the human’s and the animal’s perspective. Snakes do strike fear in people’s minds and with good reason. A large number of people die of snakebite every year and as a result, snakes are killed on sight.

In this case both man and animal are losers. Our idea of a rescuer is a person who resolves this issue. We do this by educating people and helping them understand the animal and ways to avoid a conflict situation. This is done by involving local people in our project and helping them understand the significance of snakes in the ecosystem and the benefits that farmers get by having snakes around.

So, I met this amazing person for a donation of storage boxes for serpents.

Why storage boxes for snakes?

As the plastic storage boxes can make a good environment for the serpents, the snake rescuers are recommended to keep the snakes in these containers. The problem is with the current prevailing situation of the country the prices of the storage containers are not affordable for the snake rescuers. The no of snake rescues is around 20 per month. Handling everything with relate to that is difficult for them to achieve as they are also a part of a worthy cause to the environment. And the behavior of large snakes becomes a threat to the little snakes as well.

Pros of Keeping Reptiles in Plastic Bins:

Sanitary. The plastic tubs are very easy to clean and great for getting animals through quarantine periods or illness.

Cheaper than buying multiple tanks or reptile cages for growing snakes or lizards.

Good at keeping humidity levels up.

Education – This is the Most Crucial Part of Every Rescue.

On-site awareness programs are conducted to help people understand the ecology of the snake. This is usually done after each rescue. Education material is also provided to all present. The main aim of this is to facilitate people to coexist with snakes.

Well this might be interesting for snake lovers and might be another horror dream for some other.

Happy reading !

Penned By: Rtr. Dilina Kosgoda


Together As One

Together as One is a joint initiative with Rotaract Clubs of Hatton-Kotagala and Faculty of Medicine, SUSL focusing on the improving the nutrition value of the meals, nutritious diets for maternal health and small space Gardening techniques in the estate sector of the country. The targeted area is Dayagama in Nuwara Eliya District. The target audience is mainly the tea estate workers. Large inequalities exist in their access to and the utilization of, health services. Estate workers are largely dependent on the estate’s management for their basic needs such as housing, health, and education.

The project was held on 22nd of May at CP/N/Dayagama Tamil Vidyalayam, Dayagama, the targeted audience was general public in the Dayagama Estate Area including pregnant women and the children of the area. The children were engaged for the project because it assisted them to adapt to the accurate nutritional best practices from the younger age.

Session 1: Improving the nutrition value of the daily meals

The resource person for the session was Mrs. Nadeesha Nilmini, Lecturer in Department of Biochemistry of Faculty of Medicine, Sabaragamuwa University Sri Lanka and a Registered Dietitian & Nutritionist in SLMC. The session was mainly targeted on adapting to the best practices on nutrition education. The session covered on the methods of adding a nutritional value to the regular meals of Estate workers such as Roti etc. As per the initial community assessment done by us most of the Estate workers’ starchy food consumption is in higher level and their knowledge on the nutritional value of their meal also in a low condition. The resource person provided tips to reduce the starchy food consumption and the methods to make a rich food combination by adding green leaves and vegetables for their regular meal. As a future step of the project, there is plan to monitor their daily consumption to get the idea about their meals and provide suggestions to improve their life styles.

Session 2: Nutritious diets for maternal health

The second session was mainly targeted the pregnant women in the Dayagama Area. The resource person was Rtr. Jaazim Adhnan who is a medical student of Faculty of Medicine, Sabaragamuwa University Sri Lanka. The main focus on the need of additional nutritional value for the pregnant women during their pregnancy period.  This was an interactive session followed by a Q/A session. Many questions were asked from the audience regarding the nutritional diet they should follow and the Rotaractors from Rotaract Club of FOM, SUSL were provided the required solutions for them to follow.

Session 3: Small space Gardening techniques

The third session was focusing on the gardening techniques which was done by the Rtr. Kaviyugan Prashanth. This session was the support system for the previous two sessions as it targeted on planting and gardening in estate areas. The session covered the usage of recycle materials for gardening such as plastic bottles, plastic cups etc. The resource person also demonstrated the step by step process to make a simple planting pot using a plastic bottle. There will be a monitorization of gardening techniques of themselves as the next step of the project. 

The feedback session also conducted to get the comments about the session and to know about their requirements related to the domain. A donation of seed packets also happened as a support for gardening practices.

Penned By : Rtr. Kavinda Senarathne


Greener environment for future

Trees help clean the air we breathe, filter the water we drink and provide habitat to over 80% of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity. Forests provide jobs to over 1.6 billion people, absorb harmful carbon from the atmosphere, and are key ingredients in 25% of all medicines.

Trees play a key role in capturing rainwater and reducing the risk of natural disasters like floods and landslides. Their intricate root systems act like filters, removing pollutants and slowing down the water’s absorption into the soil. This process prevents harmful waterslide erosion and reduces the risk of over-saturation and flooding.

A single tree can be home to hundreds of species of insect, fungi, moss, mammals, and plants. Depending on the kind of food and shelter they need, different forest animals require different types of habitats. Without trees, forest creatures would have nowhere to call home.

Penned by :

Kavinda Senarathne


Why are we afraid of snakes?

Serpente is a novel initiative by Rotaract Alumni Mora with the objective of raising awareness of serpents and the importance of protecting serpents. There are 294 species of snakes in the world and 96 are found in Sri Lanka. Of these, 50 species are endemic to the island. There are 13 species of sea snakes and 10 species of blind snakes in Sri Lanka. Most of the threats to Serpentes in Sri Lanka are formulated by the activities of humans. Many people believe that all snakes are deadly venomous and dangerous. Based on this belief, snakes are killed by humans, but most of the time, even nonvenomous snakes are killed due to this assumption.

Serpente webinar series became a huge impact on serpent lovers. And it’s good teaching for everyone who believes the traditional myths about serpents.

Why do you need at least little knowledge of serpents?

Humans in various cultures have feared snakes, provoking an aversion and persecution that hinders conservation efforts for these reptiles. Such fact suggests that conservation strategies for snakes should consider the interactions and perceptions of the local population towards these animals.

The first chapter of the webinar series has completed on 2nd of February as a virtual session by the Independent Researcher on Herpetology, Mr. Sanjaya Kanishka Bandara. Over 200+ participants were registered for the event and it mainly covers the basics of serpents. The session mainly focused on snake awareness based on the evolution of snakes, the ecology of snakes, the references for snake lovers, snake venom, and differentiation between poisonous and non-poisonous snakes. The Q/A was also done along with the session which was an interactive session for the participants. The questions from the school children were interesting and provide a clear image of our younger generation’s responsibility towards the protection of serpents.

Why Categorization and Identification of Serpents are important?

Snake bites in Sri Lanka cause death to nearly 100 people annually. Administering the appropriate anti-venom treatment for snake bite victims gets delayed causing complications as a result of the inability of people to identify the snake. Incorrect identification of snakes also causes threats to the existence of harmless snakes threatening the biodiversity of Sri Lanka.

The second chapter of the webinar series has completed on the 9th of February as a virtual session by the Independent Researcher on Herpetology, Mr. Sanjaya Kanishka Bandara. Over 200+ participants were also registered for the session which covers the tips to identify the serpents.

The accurate identification of snakes is particularly important for healthcare workers to diagnose and treat victims of snakebite envenoming. Further, snake identification is vital for the general population, especially for those who live in areas of high snakebite incidence. Owing to the great diversity of snakes and the superficial similarities between some species, the correct identification of these reptiles is often difficult. Therefore, the identification of snake species is challenging for healthcare workers, biologists, naturalists, and the general population.

Identification of snakes creates a strong support system for the medical sector as well. Physical identification of the offending snake certainly would assist the physician in clinical decision-making in treating snakebite victims. Hence, making the offending snake specimen available for medical staff for identification should be encouraged. However, the non-availability of the snake for identification would not drastically alter the routine management of snakebite victims in Sri Lanka.

The resource person made the conversation interactive by engaging the audience to identify some serpents in the slides and gave tips for easy identification.

Don’t you take snake bites as seriously?

If you are unfamiliar with the different types of snakes and unable to distinguish between venomous and non-venomous ones, it can be difficult to know how to respond in the event of a bite. Always treat a snake bite as if it’s venomous.

The third chapter of the webinar series has completed on the 16th of February as a virtual session by the Member of Medical Association Snakebite Committee, Dr. Lahiru Kalpage.

Specific measures related to housekeeping, outdoor work, healthcare-seeking and home health practices have been identified as determinants of primary and secondary prevention of snakebite envenoming.

Penned By: Rtr. Dilina Kosgoda


Martello Mangrove Plantation

Mangroves are among the most productive ecosystems in the world. In Sri Lanka mangroves occur along the sheltered inertial coastlines associated with estuaries and lagoons. The largest tracts of mangrove habitats in Sri Lanka are found in Puttlam Lagoon, Kala Oya basin and Trincomalee. Mangroves are associated with woody, seed-bearing and highly specialized plants. Mangroves exist in harsh environments with anaerobic soils, tidal currents, high salinity, high temperature and strong winds 30 to 35 0C. Therefore, to survive and grow under such environmental conditions mangrove plants have developed many morphological and physiological adaptations

Mangrove Eco-system is also important as a habitat for fauna including birds by providing food and resting and roosting sites to a number of wetland birds including migrant ones. Human population living near the coast also have benefited from the mangroves as it provides many benefits for their livelihoods. With the increase of human population, the demand for these vital Eco-systems has been increased to a rather unsustainable level and thus the depletion of the resource in many areas of the country.

The floristic diversity of mangrove Eco-system in Sri Lanka is rich compared to many countries. This is due to the diversity of climatic, edaphic and hydrological aspects of the coastal region. Mangrove species of 29 different types have been identified in Sri Lanka so far.

In addition, the diversity of mangrove associates is also a unique feature in the mangroves of this country. The rich species diversity has given a more established less fragile character to the mangrove Eco-system. This could be seen in abandoned prawn farms in Puttalam District where pioneer mangroves are growing with other pioneer species. Table 1 illustrates the floristic diversity of true mangroves.

Rotaract Alumni Mora extending the project scope to mangrove conservation under the project “Marathon Towards Greenery” organized a mangrove awareness session along with a mangrove plantation which was successfully completed on 18th of March 2022.

Penned By : Rtr. Kavinda Senarathne


Maga Addara

“Marathon Towards Greenery” is a project initiated to promote the sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems in Sri Lanka. Based on the countless natural disasters and adverse weather conditions that Sri Lanka has faced in the recent years it is understandable that there is a need to improve both urban and rural eco-systems. This project is an attempt to promote tree planting & reforestation as a mode to recover the declining terrestrial ecosystems and educate the general public on methods to reduce the energy usage in buildings by designing optimized constructions.

The first step to uplift and improve the eco-systems is to raise awareness and popularize tree planting and instill a sense of responsibility to protect the environment among the younger generation of the country. Tree planting in urban locations are vital to balance the ecosystems and to provide better living conditions for the citizens of the country. Most of the destruction to terrestrial ecosystems are caused to carry out constructions for human use. As constructions increase day by day it is necessary for everyone to be educated in the design strategies that can be implemented in these constructions to minimize the damage to the environment and provide maximum comfort to the users.  Four sub-projects were planned for this version of “Marathon Towards Greenery” covering all of these aspects.

The tree mortality in urban ecosystems have been declining steadily in recent years due to human activities. The main causes for the destruction of urban ecosystems can be traced back to damage of roots & soil through construction activities, competition from invasive plant species and air pollution. Therefore, it is necessary to improve these ecosystems to ensure livable, safe urban areas with considerably better air quality.

Maga Addara 22.1 was successfully held on 17th March 2022 in Karadiyana, Piliyandala.

This project was focused on improving the urban ecosystem in Piliyandala-Bokundara area by planting trees beside the roadside. The State Timber Corporation was the partner for this project and donated around 42 mango and kumbuk plants to be planted beside the roadside. Especially Mr Gamini Alwis from the Timber Corporation also joined hands with us on that day and we had great support in the beginning also

Happy reading!

Penned By: Rtr. Madurangi Guruge

BlogEnvironmentMangrove Species

Matti Kadol

This is native to Sri Lanka. There are two species of Xylocarpus. They can be seen in Western and Northwestern mangroves communities of Sri Lanka.

1. Xylocarpus granatum

This species is commonly known as spurred mangrove or Indian mangrove. The medium-sized tree is columnar or This This is a medium sized evergreen tree with dark brown petiole and bark. Leaves are alternate and pinnate, and it turns orange -brown when drying. These compound large leaves have 1-3 pairs of leaflets. Flowers bloom on long flowering branches with 4 petals. Petals are round and the edges are overlapping. The large spherical fruit is about 17-25cm in diameter. And it has a croaky leathery covering which usually splits into 4 pieces as the fruit dries. Surface roots are compressed laterally forming a spreading network of ribbon like pneumatophores with the upper edges protruding above mud.

2. Xylocarpus moluccensis

This species grows up to 30m in height and the trunk grows up to 70cm in diameter. The flowers are creamy white in color and they bloom on long flowering branches. The round fruit grows up to 11cm and it is about the size of a small orange. The fruit it dark brown, compressed and wrinkled.


Xylocarpus granatum barks are used in folk medicine. They are also used to make tannins and dyes. Both species are used as firewood and in making furniture. The seed oil is used as a hair-shining treatment. The roots are used to make paint brushes.

Penned By : Rtr. Dilrukshi Wijethunga

BlogEnvironmentMangrove Species

Heen Kadol

Aegiceras Corniculatum

This species is commonly known as spurred mangrove or Indian mangrove. The medium-sized tree is columnar or This plant belongs to the Myrsinaceae family. This plant grows up to 1-3 meters in height. The stem is branched, and the bark is grey-colored, soft, and glossy. This plant can be seen in mangrove communities in Kahamodara, Rakawa, Puttalam, Kalpitiya, and Chillaw. Leaves are small, about 3-4cm wide and 4-8cm long. Mature leaves are dark green colored. Flowers can be seen in clusters, and flower petals are white. Fruit contains two light brownish seeds, and they are viviparous.

Penned By : Rtr. Tamali Karunathilake

BlogEnvironmentMangrove Species


The two main species of Punkanda comes under Family Rhizophoraceae.

1. Ceriops tagal

This species is commonly known as spurred mangrove or Indian mangrove. The medium-sized tree is columnar or multi-stemmed growing with large buttress roots along with radiating anchor roots. The bark is light brown with a silvery-grey to orangish-brown tone. The obovate leaves are in opposite pairs, glossy yellowish-green above growing up to 6 cm long and 3 cm wide. The flowers are 1-2 cm with a short calyx tube. The color brown changes as the flower mature. The fruits are up to 3 cm long and brown at first, they change color as they mature.

2. Ceriops decandra

This species shows a close resemblance to Ceriops Tagal. It grows up to 15m as a shrub or small tree. The flower is relatively different to Ceriops Tagal. The trunk diameter reaches up to 30 cm. The bark is pale brown. The flowers are white. The conical fruits measure up to 1.8 cm long.HabitatThe growth rate of Ceriops tagal over Ceriops decandra has limited their habitat to the mangrove ecosystem in the Rakawa lagoon area.


The durable wood of Ceriops tagal is used in construction industry. It is also used to manufacture firewood and charcoal. The bark is used to extract a dye, which is used in Batik and tanning leather.

Penned By : Rtr. Kawmini Wijekoon

BlogEnvironmentMangrove Species

Katu Ikili

This plant falls under the Acanthaceae family and the 2 most common species can be identified in Sri Lanka.

1. Acanthus Ilicifolius

This is a species that can be seen in mangrove swamps and other wet locations in Sri Lanka, and this is the only fern

This can be seen in all the mangrove ecosystems in Sri Lanka. This is a thorny shrub that grows up to 2m in height. Aerial roots are developed in the lower parts of the stem. Leaves have spiny edges. Flowers can be seen in clusters on an upright spike. They are 3-4cm in length and the flower petals are blue colored. The fruits are non-viviparous.

Acrostichum Aureum leaf has 24-30 pairs of leaflets and some of the larger fronds bear sporangia (reproductive organs) on the upper five to eight pairs of leaflets. These are brown and give the pinnae a felted appearance.

2. Acanthus Volubilis

This plant has the most similar features to Acrostichum Aureum and this is an endangered species in Sri Lanka. This This plant is limited to the mangrove ecosystem in Halawatha – Pambala area. This also grows up to 2m in height. Leaf-blades are smooth, usually without spines. The stem is purplish. Similar to Acanthus Ilicifolius, flowers can be seen in clusters. The flower petals are white.


These are used in folk medicine for different medical treatments.

Penned By : Rtr. Kawmini Wijekoon