Spot on! | Daily News

Spot on!

Sri Lanka is home to many species of birds and animals, thanks to its geographical diversity. But sadly, many species are endangered, some critically endangered, while others are on the verge of extinction or near threatened.

‘Phantoms of the Night’, a coffee table book on the wild cats of Sri Lanka, will be launched on December 17 at 6 pm at the Shangri-La Hotel Colombo to shed light on this purpose. Collectively penned by naturalists Thilak Jayaratne, Janaka Gallangoda, Nadika Hapuarachchi, and Madura de Silva, it follows the series of coffee table books compiled by the team on Primates of Sri Lanka, Sri Lankan Freshwater Fish, and Mannar Unbound. The response they got from these volumes encouraged the group to launch a book focusing on Sri Lanka’s wild cats.

The team will also be holding an exhibition at the Lionel Wendt Art Gallery on December 18 and 19 from 9 am to 6 pm. Published by Chaya Publishers, ‘Phantoms of the Night’ these spotted beauties are deadly s they move swiftly through the darkness yet vanish at the slightest sound which disturbs them. Thus, the team hopes that though these wild cats do not make an appearance before the public often, their work would shed light on their existence and help them in their conservation project. ‘Phantoms of the Night’ is the result of their two decades of wandering about in various parts of the country and their fascination with nature. The publication of ‘The Phantoms of the Night’ was done in partnership with HSBC, a bank with a long history of commitment to conserve and uphold the rich heritage of our country.

President of the Wildlife Conservation Society of Galle (WCSG) Madura de Silva says, “Sri Lanka is home to four species of wild cats: the leopard, fishing cat, jungle cat, and rusty-spotted cat. The leopard is the elite member of this family overshadowing the other wild cats. Some of these wild cats even survive on edges of congested cities and rural villages. We want this book to mainly raise awareness about Sri Lanka’s other wild cats.”

The Rusty-spotted cat is the world’s smallest cat, and the Fishing cat is a wetland specialist. According to the National Red List of threatened fauna, the Jungle cat is Near Threatened and all other wild cats are listed as Endangered.

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