By Ifham Nizam
A team of Lankan scientists has decided to name a newly discovered a skink species from the central hills of the country after US herpetologist, Alan Resetar in honour of his contribution to the conservation of herpetofauna.
This species had previously been confused with two other species known in their binominal names Eutropis carinata and Eutropis beddomei, head of the team Lankan research team, Sudesh Batuwita told The Island yesterday.
The new species had been recorded from the highest elevations from about 1,000 metres to 1,600 metres in the Central Hills, Batuwita said. “We have decided to name it as Rutropis resetarii in recognition of the services rendered by US herpetologist Resetar to the field of herpetofauna studies,” said Batuwita, a taxonomist of the Society of Biodiversity Conservation committed to inventoring fauna (fish, reptiles and amphibians) and to provide baseline information to conserve species and their habitats.
Batuwita said Resetar of the Division of Amphibians and Reptiles, Field Museum of Natural History is known for his life long dedication to herpetology and his behind the scenes contributions to homalopsid snake research.
The team headed by Batuwita comprises scientists Sampath Udugampala and Udeni Edirisinghe.
The team was grateful to Prof. Aaron M. Bauer, Prof. Indraneil Das, Dr. Ali Gholamifard and Dr. Frank Tillack for their enormous support for the work, Batuwita added.
Six nabbed with over 100 kg of ‘Ice’
By Norman Palihawadane and Ifham Nizam
The Police Narcotics Bureau (PNB) yesterday arrested six suspects in the Sapugaskanda Rathgahawatta area with more than 100 kilos of Crystal Methamphetamine also known as Ice.
Police Media Spokesman, Deputy Inspector General of Police, Ajith Rohana told the media that the PNB sleuths, acting on information elicited from a suspect in custody had found 91 packets of Ice.
A man in possession of 100 kilos of heroin was arrested in Modera during the weekend and revealed that a haul of Ice had been packed in plastic boxes.
The PNB seized more than 114 kilos of Ice from the possession of a single drug network.
According to the information elicited from the suspects, more than 100 kilos of Ice were found.
The PNB also arrested six persons including two women with 13 kilos of Ice, during an operation carried out in the Niwandama area in Ja-Ela on Sunday.
DIG Rohana said the ice had been packed in small plastic boxes and hidden in two school bags.
PM intervenes to iron out differences among coalition partners
By Norman Palihawadane
Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday said that he was confident that differences among the constituents of the SLPP coalition as regards the May Day celebrations and the next Provincial Council elections could be ironed out soon.
Leaders of all SLPP allied parties have been invited to a special meeting to be held at Temple Trees with the PM presiding on April 19.
Prime Minister Rajapaksa said it was natural for members of a political alliance to have their own standpoints and views on matters of national importance. “This is due to the different political ideologies and identities. It is not something new when it comes to political alliances world over. In a way, it shows that there is internal democracy within our alliance.
The PM said: “As a result of that the allied parties may express their own views on issues, but that does not mean there is a threat to the unity of the alliance. An alliance is more vibrant and stronger not when all the parties think on the same lines but when the member parties have different ideologies.”
Thilo Hoffman remembered
A copy of the book “Politics of a Rainforest: Battles to save Sinharaja” was handed over to Dominik Furgler, the Swiss Ambassador in Sri Lanka by the author of the book, Dr. Prasanna Cooray at the Swiss Embassy in Colombo last Tuesday, to be sent to the family of the late Thilo Hoffman in Switzerland.
Hoffman, a Swiss national, who made Sri Lanka his second home for six decades, was a pioneering environmental activist who led the battles to save Sinharaja from the front in the early 1970s, abreast with the likes of Iranganie Serasinghe, Kamanie Vitharana, Lynn De Alwis and Nihal Fernando of the “Ruk Rekaganno” fame. That was the era when the trees of Sinharaja were felled for the production of plywood by the then government. Hoffman was also a livewire of the Wildlife and Nature Protection Society (WNPS) for a long time. Hoffman died in 2014 at the age of 92.
The book includes a chapter on Thilo Hoffman.
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