Otara Foundation’s track record places us in the unique position of facilitating, sponsoring and fund-raising conservation projects throughout the island. To do so, the Foundation works with recognised, respected conservation-based organisations throughout Sri Lanka.

The Foundation’s interests in conservation take a two-fold approach:

  1. Activism
  2. Awareness

Conservation is a science – and Sri Lanka is fortunate to have some of the world’s experts working for change in this island rich in bio-diversity. Collaborating with many and working in the areas of Human Elephant Conflict (HEC), National Park protection, opposing deforestation and standing up against irresponsible development in sanctuaries, strict nature reserves and protected areas throughout the island, the Foundation maximises its impact through the strategic allocation of its resources.

Collaborations and partnerships in Conservation projects include:

  • Collaborations with EFL (link)

The Foundation confirms funding and support of the following investigations, projects and legal actions by EFL:

  1. Loluwagoda Dendro Power Project 
  2. Metal quarrying at Korathota
  3. Illegal felling of trees in Anuradhapura
  4. Gravel mining in Panirendawa
  5. Maha Oya – Sand mining permits
  6. Illegal construction in Kandalama
  7. Nilgala forest boundary issue
  8. Garbage issue in Thalangama
  9. Illegal garbage dump at Manelgama, Kelaniya
  10. Illegal construction within the Mahawewa tank reservation 
  11. Construction of a road through the Walawwewatta Waturana EPA 
  12. Complaint on Gregory Lake N’Eliya – Hotel Construction  
  13. Complaint on noise pollution within a residential area in Colombo 03 
  14. Inquiry on quartz mining within the Kotikanbokka Forest 
  15. Complaint on noise pollution caused by an aluminium factory in Colombo 14 
  16. Housing project within an elephant corridor in the North Central Province  
  17. Investigation into illegally constructed electric fence blocking elephant corridor in Ehetuwewa
  18. Mini-hydro Power Plant at Getambe & translocation of Labeo fisheri
  19. Public nuisance case in Matara
  20. Inquiry into Mini-hydro Power Plant project in Kitulgala
  21. Investigation into the Sampur Coal Power Plant Project
  22. Investigation of the Norochcholai Coal Power Plant
  23. Proposed wind farm in Mannar
  24. Gravel mining at Thambagalla
  25. Illegal quarry site at Kekirawa
  26. Impacts of tourism on the Kelani river at Kitulgala
  27. Illegal construction in Nallathanniya
  28. Illegal clearing close to Sinharaja
  29. Complaint on a proposed hotel at Unawatuna
  30. Complaint on deforestation at Kotiyagala
  31. Complaint on air pollution within a residential area in Wellawatta
  32. Illegal extraction of water for the Sithulpawwa temple from the Menik river within the Yala National Park
  33. Kumbukkan Oya Reservoir Project Investigation
  34. Investigation on the Pallekandal Church situated within the Wilpattu National Park
  35. Greater Kurunegala Water Supply & Sewerage project  
  36. Metal Quarry issue in Pitumpe, Meepe
  37. Sand mining at Suduwella
  38. Deforestation North of Wilpattu National Park
  39. Inquiry on ground mounted solar power projects
  40. Kehelgamu Oya Phase II Mini Hydro Power Plant
  • Collaborations with Rainforest Protectors of Sri Lanka (link)

The Otara Foundation confirms funding and support of the following investigations, projects and legal action by Rainforest Protectors Sri Lanka:

Muthurajawela Direction Action Campaign to conserve Muthurajawela Wetland

The organization spearheaded a campaign with other environmental groups, religious leaders and villagers to stop the continued filling of Muthurajawela.

Action against Sinharaja World Heritage Rainforest Deforestation

Successful legal action and negotiation resulted in local authority decision to halt all human activities within 500 meters of Sinharaja World Heritage Rainforest.

Campaign against Palm Oil Plantations 

Community awareness and empowerment initiatives in Kegalle, Galle, Matara, Ratnapura and Kalutara Districts regarding environmental and social impact of expanding palm oil plantations resulted in discourse with Divisional Secretariats, Pradeshiya Sabhas and Divisional Secretariats.  Campaign utilised media to spread awareness and counter misinformation received by local farmers.

Protecting the Last Two Elephants of Sinharaja World Heritage Rainforest

Nochchiagama Andarawewa Forest Reserve – Action against Deforestation

Illegal construction activity within Nochchiagama Andarawewa Forest Reserve in Anuradhapura District was causing wild elephants to move to surrounding villages increasing HEC.

Puttalam Lagoon – Community action & Campaign against dumping garbage

Campaign and action against the Sri Lanka’s Government plan to dump Colombo’s garbage in the ecologically sensitive Wilpattu Buffer Zone and subsequently bordering Puttalam Lagoon.

Sinharaja Rainforest – Action against destroying Core Zone

Successful National Media Campaign to stop destruction carried out by the Forest Department using JCB machines within core zone of Sinharaja Rainforest to create a road for tourist vehicles thereby devastating the sensitive ecosystem.

Protection of private land on Sinharaja Buffer Zone – 4 acres of riverine forest

Mapping and identification of unprotected privately-owned forest land in Sinharaja buffer zone, including assessment of properties suitable for acquisition and permanent protection under Rainforest Protectors Trust. Coordination of acquisition related tasks in Sinharaja Buffer Zone.

Koskulana, Kitulgala & Seethawaka Ganga  – Action against Mini Hydro Projects

Media campaign and negotiation with Government authorities against the ecologically destructive Koskulana, Kitulgala and Seethawaka Ganga mini-hydro projects included education and awareness for local communities on the importance of catchment areas for sustainability.

Norochcholai Coal Plant – Media campaigns to expose malpractice and Sulphur Dioxide Pollution

Community Based Environmental Organisations – Initiation

In 2018 alone, 7 local, community-based environmental organizations have been initiated/set up by Rainforest Protectors of SL to environmental/ecological issues caused by Palm Oil, Deforestation and MiniHydro and to safeguard the water rights of villagers and all species.

1. Naththandiya Parisaraya Surakeeme Sanvidhaanaya

2. Dehiowita Jana Ayitheen Surakeeme Sanvidhanaya

3. Kegalla District Parisara Sanvidhana Ekamuthuwa

4. Katupol Virodhee Jaathika Sanvidaana Ekamuthuwa

5. Daduruoya Surakeeme Sanvidhaanaya

6. Koskulana Parisara Surakeeme Sanvidhaanaya

7. Nature Friends Sri Lanka

Further, 2 dormant local community based environmental organizations were reactivated under this initiative.

1. Kalawana Paarisarika Padanama

2. Sinharaja Sumithuro – Rakwana

  • Collaborations with Reforest Sri Lanka

The Otara Foundation confirms its investment and support in the following initiatives:

Karuwalagaswewa HEC Mitigation and Community Empowerment – 2018

Long term project to help mitigate Human Elephant Conflict, re-green the area, resuscitate lakes for wildlife and support the local economy.

Planting saplings in Atthidiya Bird Sanctuary – 2018

In collaboration with the Department of Wildlife Conservation, this initiative to included the planting of 1200 endemic trees to renew bio diversity (project ongoing).

60 Kumbuk Saplings along Kalu River

2018 Project in collaboration with the Kandana Water Board – August 30, 2018

Kottawa Highway Interchange 

Tree planting initiative.

Kadawatha Highway

Over 500 Kumbuk Saplings planted

  • Additional Projects supported by Otara Foundation include:

Sponsorship of Runakanda Rainforest Freshwater Fish Project

Social Media broadcast of interview with eminent conservationist Rukshan Jayawardene on Irrigation and Water Conservation systems in Sri Lanka.

Social Media broadcast of interview with Jayantha Wijesinghe of Rainforest Protectors

Social Media broadcast of interview with eminent conservationist Rukshan Jayawardene on Irrigation, the Environment and Sri Lanka’s diminishing water resources.

Media broadcast of Visit to Runakanda Rainforest Conservation Centre to commemorate International Day of Forests and discussion with Udaya Chanaka

Otara Foundation along with the Species Conservation Centre of Sri Lanka conducted and published research on small scale garbage dumping sites frequented by elephants.

Climate Change March 2015 – The Otara Foundation was a leading campaigner in Colombo.