(VIDEO) Minister slams Devani’s crusade to save endangered tree

(VIDEO) Minister slams Devani’s crusade to save endangered tree

Written by Zulfick Farzan

09 Feb, 2021 | 2:01 pm

Colombo (News 1st); Gampaha Division Wildlife Officer Devani Jayathilaka is attempting to portray to the world that she is engaged in a lone battle to protect only surviving tree of the Sri Lankan Legume or Crudia zeylanica, alleged the Minister of Wildlife & Forest Conservation.

Speaking in Parliament C. B. Rathnayake said the Director-General of Wildlife and the respective Ministry Secretaries have already visited the site for inspections.

The Minister said if possible the latest technology will be used to relocate three or another alternative will be provided.

‘There are those who want to promote themselves,’ said the Minister in response to a claim made by the opposition in parliament on Tuesday (09).

Gampaha Division Wildlife Officer Devani Jayathilaka visited the site just in time to prevent the workers from destroying the Critically Endangered Level Crudia zeylanica on Sunday (07).

“If I did not turn up, the tree would be no more,” she said, adding the entire eco-system in the area was destroyed by those who do not understand the importance of the environment.

Environmentalists have strongly opposed to any move to relocate the only surviving tree of the Sri Lankan Legume or Crudia zeylanica was saved in the nick of time on Sunday (07).

There are serious concerns as to whether Sri Lanka in fact has the technology required to relocate such an important and rare tree, questioned environmentalist Nayanaka Ranwella on Monday (08).

The Sri Lanka legume (Crudia zeylanica) was discovered and named a new species in 1868.

Since then, however, there is no record of it even being seen, and it was eventually presumed to be extinct.

The IUCN Red List of 2006 categorizes it as extinct, as does the National Red List of 2012, prepared by Sri Lanka’s ministry of environment.

It was known only from the herbarium specimens collected more than a century ago, and drawings, since there were no photographs of a living plant until its rediscovery in 2019 by three young research scientists.

The plant did not have a photograph of it till it was rediscovered; even Sri Lanka’s National Herbarium only had a sketch.
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The only surviving tree of the Sri Lankan Legume or Crudia zeylanica was rediscovered in a small plot of forest land located close to the Daraluwa Railway Station in Gampaha

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