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Amphibians going extinct in SL at a record pace

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by Ifham Nizam

Sri Lanka holds the record for nearly 14 per cent of the amphibian extinctions in the world. In other words, of the 130 amphibian extinctions known to have occurred across the globe, 18 extinctions (14 per cent) have occurred in Sri Lanka, says Dr. Anslem de Silva, widely regarded as the father of Herpetology in the country. Speaking to The Sunday Island, the authors of a news book on amphibians, said that this is one of the highest number of amphibian extinctions known from a single country. Some consider this unusual extinction rate to be largely the result of the loss of nearly 70 per cent of the island’s forest cover. Dr. Anslem de Silva, Co-Chairman, Amphibian Specialist Group, International Union for the Conservation of Nature/Species Survival Commission (IUCN/SSC), together with two academics, Dr. Kanishka Ukuwela, Senior Lecture at Rajarata University, Mihintale who is also associated with IUCN/SSC and Dr. Dillan Chaturanga, Lecture at Ruhuna University, Matara had authored this most comprehensive book on amphibians running to nearly 250 pages released last week. The prevalent levels of application of agrochemicals up to few months back, especially in rice fields, and vegetable and tea plantations, have increased over the past three decades. Similarly, the release of untreated industrial wastewater to natural water bodies has intensified. As a consequence, many streams and canals have become highly polluted, they say. The use of pesticides directly decreases the insect population, an important source of food for amphibians. Furthermore, these pollutants can easily make the water in paddy fields and the insects on which the amphibians feed toxic or increase the nitrogen content of the water. The highly permeable skins of amphibians would certainly cause them to be directly affected by these, they add. Amphibian mortality due to road traffic is a widespread problem globally that has been known to be responsible for population reductions and even local extinction in certaininstances. In Sri Lanka, amphibian mortalities due to road traffic are highly prevalent on roads that serve paddy fields, wetlands and forests. Further, they are especially intensified on rainy days when amphibian activity is high, the book explains. Recent studies indicate that amphibian road kills are exacerbated in certain national parks in the country due to increased visitation. According to recent estimates, several thousand amphibians are killed annually due to road traffic.

Professor W. A. Priyanka, PhD (USA), Professor in Zoology, Faculty of Science, University of Peradeniya says the need for a guide to the amphibian fauna of Sri Lanka is obvious, given the currently critical conditions endangering them. Amphibians are an attractive group of animals whose diversity has always sparked interest among the scientific community, creating a vast body of unanswered questions.However, the identification of amphibians has been a challenge due to the lack of a complete and informative guide. The comprehensive pictorial guide provided by the new book should thus be of great benefit to a better understanding of the unique and intriguing nature of these fascinating living beings.The authors have done an outstanding job in compiling this book. An introduction to the guide briefly describes the history, current status, threats and conservation information, along with interesting folklore associated with amphibians. With the clear and informative images, distribution maps and updated status of each species, this guide can easily be comprehended by experts and beginners in the field alike.”I firmly believe that this book will be very useful to undergraduate and postgraduate students in the fields of zoology, biology and environmental science, as well as researchers, wildlife managers and visitors,” Professor Priyanka added.The authors said that like their previous guide to the reptiles of Sri Lanka, A Naturalist’s Guide to the Reptiles of Sri Lanka (de Silva & Ukuwela, 2017, 2020), this book is intended for both naturalists and visitors to Sri Lanka, providing an introduction to the amphibians found here. It features all the extant species of amphibian in this country with colour photographs and quick and easy tips for identification. At the time of writing, 120 species have been recorded within the country and ongoing taxonomic work is certain to add more to this impressive list in the next few years.This guide provides a general introduction to the amphibians of Sri Lanka, a profile of the physiographic, climatic, and vegetation features of the island, key characteristics that can be used in the identification of amphibians and descriptions of each extant amphibian species.Additionally, it presents information on amphibian conservation here and a brief introduction to folklore and traditional treatment methods for combating poisoning due to amphibians in this country. The species descriptions are arranged under their higher taxonomic groups(orders and families), and further grouped in their respective genera.The descriptions are organized in alphabetical order by their scientific names. Every species covered is accompanied by one or more colour photograph of the animal. Each account includes the vernacular name in English, the current scientific name, the vernacular name in Sinhala, a brief history of the species, a description with identification features, and details of habitat, habits and distribution (both here and outside the country).Key external identification features of the species, such as body form, skin texture and coloration, are provided, to help in the quick identification of an animal in the field.It must be noted that according to Sri Lanka’s wildlife laws, amphibians cannot be captured or removed from their natural habitats without official permits, which must be obtained in advance from the Department of Wildlife Conservation.Sri Lanka is home to an exceptional diversity of amphibians. Currently, the island nation boasts of 112 species of amphibians of which 98 are restricted to the country. However, nearly 60 per cent of this magnificent diversity is threatened with extinction. To make matters worse, very little attention is paid by the conservation authorities or the public. The last treatise on the subject was published 15 years ago. However, many changes have taken place since then and hence an updated compilation was a major necessity. This book by the three authors intends to popularize the study of amphibians by the general public by filling this large void. Historical aspects

Sri Lanka is one of the few countries in the world where conservation and protection of its fauna and flora has been practiced since pre-Christian times. There is much archaeological, historical and literary evidence to show that from ancient times amphibians have attracted the attention of the people of this island.

This is evident by the discovery of an ancient bronze cast of a frog (see photo) discovered during excavations conducted by the Department of Archaeology and the Central Cultural Fund. Strati-graphic evidence from the excavation sites indicate that these objects belong to the sixth to eighth centuries AD (Anuradhapura and Jetavanārāma museum records). Beliefs that feature the ‘good’ qualities of frogs and association with nature. These beliefs have some positive effects on the conservation of amphibians, perhaps one reason that Sri Lanka harbours a diverse assemblage of frogs. Absence of frogs and toads in agricultural fields indicates impending crop failure, it is believed.

The authors have specially thanked Managing Director John Beaufoy of John Beaufoy Publishing Ltd, for publishing many books promoting Sri Lanka diversity.



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Life style

Mix of nostalgia and modernity among the young

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As a fashion studies major,the greatest interest has been seeing how younger generations are slowly changing the fashion world without really noticing. Many fandoms, as well as influencers, have created many important changes in fashion such as starting new trends through popular social media platforms.

Meanwhile how Younger Generations Have Influenced Fashion

Many people have considered that interests brought by younger generations such as fandoms and fashion are two different worlds, that younger generations and fandoms focus a lot on pop culture and other entertainment interests, and that fashion enthusiasts focus on the latest garment and color trends.

However, many don’t really realize how much pop culture, fandoms liked by younger generations have influenced fashion and vice versa simply because there has been a line made to divide these two into two worlds that most likely will never intersect, though this line has slowly disappeared within the most recent years, creating a fashion aesthetic strictly inspired by popular fandoms and pop culture.

Not only that but many people began creating and designing clothing that features strawberry designs inspired by the popular trending dress. This was a huge influence that younger generations have had in the fashion world, but this fashion trend also inspired many anime fandom artists to unleash their imaginations and create a wonderful world with their favorite characters wearing this magnificent dress.

This influence is only one of the many influences that pop culture, fandoms, and the younger generations have had in the fashion world. There have been many other fashion aesthetics that have trended and inspired many new garments and colour combinations. One of the popular aesthetics or commonly known as “core” was the cottagecore trend.

What is cottagecore? It is the aesthetic surrounding life in a rural and peaceful environment. This aesthetic has left an important impact on fashion because garments such as flowy and delicate dresses, sun hats and more headgear, sweater vests, among other styles of clothing have become quite popular as well due to the influence younger generations have had in the fashion world. Another important pop-culture interest has been the many entertainment sections such as many different series, anime, dramas, music and band groups, comics and manga, influencers etc which has led to the creation of many fandoms that have influenced the fashion world heavily.

But how has this been done? Well, with the rising popularity of pop culture and every entertainment loved by younger generations, designers and brands have decided to change their fashion path into a more laid back and casual but just as a trend and exquisite specifically made to appeal to Millennials and Gen-Z which are the cause in this sudden change in the fashion industry.

Popular stores have been the spotlight of fashion influenced by these generations and pop culture. Stores like these have a wide range of many innovative and creative fashion garments which were either inspired by a tv show, a band, an anime, a comic or manga, or even Disney and Nickelodeon classics and have been designed specifically to appeal to Millenials and Gen-Z by creating unique and playful accessories as well as garments. These stores have managed to make pop culture fashionable and made fashion more hip and exclusive for those lovers of pop culture. Another way of how younger generations have influenced fashion has been by making past trends come back to our modern times. For some reason, Millennials and Gen-Z have actually been so interested in old fashion trends, or more commonly known as retro fashion aesthetic. Many past fashion garments have made a very strong comeback, and young generations have even recreated its original style into a mix of nostalgia and modernity, giving this certain fashion trend a complete and new innovative aspect. Another interesting aspect of retro fashion was the incorporation of retro sources of entertainment into popular fashion aesthetics.

Many younger generations have been very innovative and unique in creating trends, sometimes they do not notice the impact that they are making for an entire industry and the inspirational fashion garments created due to the trends created by these generations but it is undeniable that the fashion industry has entered a world where the younger generations are determining how the game is played and introducing new and exciting trends that are fun, fashionable, and fresh. Embracing tradition, as well as modernity, has been the tool that the younger generations have made great use of when establishing new, wonderful, catchy and popular trends.

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How Young People Are Changing the Fashion Industry

New York Fashion Week is here and there is a growing fashion movement that has the potential to fundamentally change the industry: sustainable fashion. If designers want to endear themselves to Gen Z, they’ll take note of this important shift.

The last ten years have seen a dramatic rise in the educated consumer, one who thinks not just about the quality and value of the finished product, but how it got on the shelf — where the materials come from, who made it and under what conditions. This desire to understand the backstory of consumer goods has spread to fashion, and young people are forcing brands to take a look at what they do and how they do it. Gen Z, in particular, wants to align themselves with brands that stand for something (hello, Nike). Sustainability and ethical fashion are quickly becoming a part of this generation’s values set, as the negative impacts of fast fashion come to light (think environmental hazards and human rights issues).

But while there is a cohort of front-row influencers, celebrities and brands such as Allbirds, United by Blue, Girlfriend Collective, Reformation, Outerknown and Everlane that devote themselves to sustainable fashion, the movement still has a long way to go before it’s mainstream. Most young people today would consider sustainable fashion more of an ethical bonus or nice-to-have, not a requirement. The primary reason: The cost.

Most sustainable fashion naturally comes with a higher price point because of the devotion to ethically sourced fabrics, thoughtful construction methods, improved factory conditions, and improved pay for workers. When the average cost of one eco-friendly item is about $80 (at the low end), young people often have no choice but to shop elsewhere. Especially when you can buy several outfits at stores such as Forever 21 or Old Navy for that same amount. Young people are still in that fashion phase of wanting to wear the latest looks — and changing up their outfits daily. They don’t yet have that mindset to buy more higher-quality clothes and keep them for a long time.

–Vogue

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How Celebrities Influence Fashions

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Celebrities have always shaped and influenced the ongoing fashion trend.

Celebrities both Hollywood and Bollywood influence fashion by wearing whatever is in fashion and also sometimes they create their fashion trend by wearing something enormous, created by the world’s leading fashion designers.

Some of them are known to having better knowledge with fashion than other celebrities, we look to them as fashion icons. They are numerous ways celebrities can influence fashion.

Celebrities set the rule on how to dress to a certain event or how you should dress at a certain age. A lot of times celebrities will promote certain fashion trends. People dress a certain way because their favorite celebrity that they stalk on social media is wearing the same thing.

Fashion can be influenced by social media, the person wearing a certain type of designer or a piece of clothing from that designer.

Research says the some individuals who are referred to as opinion leaders has a major impact on what society thinks of a certain type of fashion. With having celebrities as a fashion opinion leader it leads to higher percentage of market sales. It is agreed that they tend to have more knowledge about fashion than a regular person would, even though if they do not dress accordingly to society at the time. The key aspect of fashion on celebrities is to be seen in the public eye which helps the consumer/designer get more clients or fame.

When it comes to celebrities and trends, clothing is one of the easiest ones to follow. It doesn’t matter what article of clothing celebs have on, if it’s in a magazine or on an Instagram feed, the next day stores are selling the same piece of clothing that said celebrity wore in a photo. It is easier to keep up with the changing trends because of Instagram and TikTok where many celebrities will post videos of their outfits when going out for an event or just spending the day at home. Everyone has their own unique sense of style but how do celebrities influence our style, and are we really dressing in the clothes we choose because we like them, or are we doing it to follow a trend?Celebrities have been known to popularize trends even after they go out of style. One of the reasons why people are so drawn to the styles celebrities wear is because many will choose to dress in a style that brings back nostalgia.

For example, some fashion trend that has been in and out of style for the last couple of years. Various stores and clothing brands have been selling items from tthis fashion collection for a while such as Hot Topic, Forever 21, and Urban Outfitters. But the downside to clothing trends is that we realize “I’m never gonna wear this again,” or “I don’t even like this style, why did I buy this?”

Celebrities are good at advertising the clothing items they’re given because it’s part of their job, but sometimes they don’t even like the items they wear. So, why do we continue to follow clothing trends? They have been given lots of beautiful pieces of clothing to wear and when we see them in it and how people respond to them, we want the same reaction they get, so we choose to follow the trend people say

These celibritiescan also influence where clothing is sourced from. Some of the clothes that we wear are made from animals and harmful products that we don’t even realize are made from insects (silk), goats (cashmere), and sheep (shearling). Numerous celebrities have taken a stand against animal products in clothing, and have chosen to wear clothing that is vegan and animal-free.

For example, Ariana Grande’s wedding dress was made from stating vegan which, according to VeganFashionWeek, has “the soft and lustrous texture of satin to create the perfect wedding gown for Arianna Grande. Satin is made from synthetic materials (polyester, nylon, rayon fibers…)” The choice to buy ethically can influence fans’ styles because they may be inspired to purchase clothing that is made from vegan materials and animal-free products.

Another reason could be because many items that celebrities wear can be used on various occasions. Because celebrities have millions of fans who follow everything that they do, some celebrities have their own clothing lines designed to fit every size and every occasion so that they’re fans can dress comfortably and stylish. Cardi B partnered with Fashion Nova, Kendall and Kylie Jenner have a namesake clothing line, as do many other celebrities. It gives fans the confidence to expand their wardrobe, and it has made people feel comfortable in their own skin.

More positively, celebrities can influence our style by advertising to their fans to dress as themselves and not for anyone else. Angelina Jolie shared her views on fashion in an article last year, saying, “I think we all know boldness when we see it. Nothing makes me smile more than when I see someone being fully themselves, with their own individual style and character, whatever that is.”

Remember: celebrities have their own individual styles that match their own unique personalities and so do you. They can influence our styles because we might like how they look in movies, TV shows, and Tiktoks. It is worth mentioning that celebrities have stylists who dress them for special occasions, and designers who want them to wear their clothes. Style and clothing should be about self expression and instead it has become about trends and influence. Clothes are the reflection of the person you are on the inside so instead of following a clothing trend that’ll be over in a few weeks, dress for yourself.

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Sade Greenwood Miss Sri Lanka world 2022, speaks about Fitness and lifestyle 

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by Zanita Careem

The reigning Miss Sri Lanka world Sade Greenwood gives insight into the importance of a balanced and healthy lifestyle for achieving goals and overall wellbeing.

Sade is currently a student at Tokyo International University in Japan where She studies International Relations. She hopes to make a difference in her country using her degree, where she hopes to be involved in youth programmes and education. When Sade is not studying she is usually doing her charity work which involves environmental services and animal welfare. .

Sade with her sparkling personality and penchant for positivity personifies ‘beauty with a purpose’. She has brought immense pride to us all with her ‘walking the talk’ through her numerous charitable endeavors.

Q• Sade tell us about your journey from modelling to competing nationally, and winning the coveted Miss Sri Lanka World 2022 title?

A•

It’s been a surreal journey! Definitely a lot of adjusting as it was a huge shift in my life but all the same I’m so grateful and blessed to be able to represent my country on the  international stage. 

Q• You have always been in model shape. Have You had to change your workout routines when focusing on the beauty industry? 

A• I think I more so needed fitness to help me balance my busy schedules. It was always great to have a release from everything through fitness, it’s definitely something I used more for my mental and physical health in becoming a stronger version of myself.

Q• Being a part of The Fitness Connection Family and working out at the Gym what do you feel has been the biggest change? 

A• I think learning to achieve my goals. One thing about fitness is that consistency plays a huge role but so does diet! Learning to cut out on some of my favourite food is a little tricky!

Q• I know You have a hectic schedule and many commitments. How have your workouts at the gym impacted you positively? 

A• It’s impacted my mental and physical health and overall helped me balance my life and find a release from all the stress and strain.

Q• As you and your pathway have inspired so many, what advise would You give to those looking to balance their goals with their everyday lives? 

A• Make sure you love what you do! That makes it easier to balance anything in life because you’re putting your heart and soul into what you do. It doesn’t feel like ‘work’ then, so train your mind!

Q• What motivates you the most, and gets you moving even on the most tiring of days? 

A• My goals and how the future version of myself would be proud that I made the decision to do something then and there.

We are all looking forward to your next chapters in what is definitely going to be an exciting and fulfilling journey. I will surely be speaking with you again soon!

*Sade Greenwood photographed at The Fitness Connection,

Racecourse Colombo 07

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