Realising a mission and passion together


Two wildlife enthusiasts �Dr. Janaka Gallangoda and Nadika Hapuarachchi present ‘Life: A Journey into the Wilds of Sri Lanka’, a coffee table book and exhibition�

By Malaka Rodrigo

When wildlife lovers campaigned in 2005 against a hydropower plant at Bomuru Ella in Nuwara Eliya, among them were a medical officer attached to the Nuwara Eliya hospital and an IT specialist working in Colombo. Though in unrelated fields, their common passion for environment conservation and photography made them good friends and they went on many field expeditions together sometimes combing leech infested forests past midnight in the freezing cold.

January 17 will be a special day for both Nadika Hapuarachchi and Dr. Janaka Gallangoda as they launch their coffee-table book “Life: A Journey into the Wilds of Sri Lanka” which will be followed by a three-day photographic exhibition.

The hard cover coffee-table book has some 159 wildlife photographs captured with their technical skill and artistic sensitivity.�

The cover photo of the books says it all- a lone Purple Heron on a skeletal tree against the backdrop of a tranquil rainbow. Revealing the story behind the photo, Nadika said the photograph was captured at Kumana Villu a few years ago on a rainy evening. “It was pouring out there- the jeep tracks leading to Kumana were flooded. The rain threatened to ruin our photo opportunities, but when it ceased, there was a beautiful rainbow across the Kumana Villu. The lonely Purple Heron was just picture perfect against this backdrop and this single photo was worth the difficulties of the whole trip.”

Dr. Janaka’s favourite subject is birds though the book also highlights his other wildlife pictures. Having studied at Rahula College Matara and then graduated from Karapitiya Medical Faculty where he pursued his passion for nature in his leisure time, he was instrumental in forming the Nuwara Eliya Nature Protection Society (NEPS) while serving at the Nuwara Eliya Hospital. Together with like-minded activists, he went into the forests in Nuwara Eliya to save animals from the clutches of poachers. NEPS also held an annual photographic exhibition that helped him sharpen his photographic skills.�

Old Royalist Nadika is now the manager at E-Soft Computer Studies, Piliyandala branch and an active member of the Wildlife Conservation Society of Galle (WCSG). He too has been involved in many campaigns to expose wildlife rackets.

Nadika Hapuarachchi

‘Life: A Journey into the Wilds of Sri Lanka’ tries to convey an important conservation message by taking the public through a photographic journey highlighting the natural beauty of the landscapes and the extraordinary wealth of life forms found in Sri Lanka.�

The reader encounters the elusive leopard who is trying to cope with a noisy crowd of tourists at the Yala National Park, the juvenile Scops owl healed by humans and the splendour of daybreak at Horton Plains. Wildlife big or small has equal prominence – the photographs capture giant elephants to small flies mating.�

At the end of the book, the authors discuss certain conservation issues in detail- the problems due to unplanned tourism, snares, road kills, land-slides, forest fires, elephants captured from the wild etc. This makes it a book of different format as these issues are also the ones the duo are fighting in real life.
The book is dedicated to two doctors- Dr. Sanjweeva�Ranwella and Dr. Amith Munidradasa who both died young. “Dr. Ranwella and Dr. Munindradasa left a legacy of love towards nature and people that only a few can follow, so we wanted to dedicate our joint effort to them,” said Nadika.

A Juvenile Hawk Eagle eating a snake

The book will be launched on January 17 and the exhibition at the Harold Peiris Gallery will be open from the Jan. 18 to Jan. 20 from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.� The book is priced at Rs.3,900 with a pre-publication price of Rs.3,400 until the 20th. More photographs from the book can be viewed at Online orders too can be placed�through the website.

Published on SundayTimes on 13.01.13

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