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CJS highlights elephant conservation at GLF 2016

In the five days that spanned the Fairway Galle Literary Festival 2016, Colombo Jewellery Stores added a fresh dimension to the creative realms prevalent at the Festival, infusing interactive discussion and focused awareness on the human-elephant relationship and conservation.

For CJS, this was the natural follow up to the ‘Unforgettable’ project it has been pioneering in the two villages of Pussellyaya and Weheragalagama villages in Wasgamuwa, where, in collaboration with the Sri Lanka Wildlife Conservation Society, CJS is continuing an interactive campaign to seek sustainable solutions for the villagers and the 350 elephants living in that habitat. ‘

Unforgettable’ is the campaign that CJS mooted, using elephant enthusiast CJS Brand Ambassador Jacqueline Fernandez and the Sri Lanka Wildlife Conservation Society in a well-integrated conservation initiative with the two villages, pioneering some sustainable solutions that would prompt better human elephant co-existence.

CJS sponsored Saba Douglas Hamilton, a passionate wildlife conservationist, television host and filmmaker and Director of Save The Elephants Foundation.

Through her charities she has worked to support, protect and increase awareness of issues, which threaten to erode the African Elephant population and their habitat.

At The session ‘Thinking Out Loud’ Saba Douglas-Hamilton who enthused about her passion for elephants from her childhood growing up in the African bush, while her parents conducted pioneering research on elephants’ social behavior, was overwhelming.

Speaking to a packed audience at Hall De Galle, Saba, who was pleasantly surprised at the massive positive response she received, stated that her first time in Sri Lanka was truly memorable and that she is thrilled to be a part of GLF.

“Promoting and educating awareness of the conflict which is widespread not only in Africa but also here in Asia is truly a mission that we must all be responsible for,” she stated.

“I’ve grown up in Africa and observed that continent’s efforts to find sustainable solutions.

She explained about the success of beehive fences and that this is also now being tested in Sri Lanka.

Elaborating that the primary challenge in Africa is the illegal ivory trade, she was delighted to hear that Sri Lanka would be burning seized Ivory on the 26th of January.

A book signing ceremony followed her talk and photo opportunities with like-minded wild life enthusiasts at CJS Tent.

At a well-attended Literary Dinner the same evening, Saba played the Sounds of Africa and spoke of the importance of conserving elephants in the wild and why we need to protect the Elephants and the vital role elephants play as a Keystone species in our eco system.

On Saturday CJS screened Common Ground, a documentary set in Sri Lanka which has been shown at a number of film festivals including the REEL EARTH Environmental Film Festival produced by Greener Media, features Founder of the SLWCS Ravi Corea who continues to collaborate with CJS in its conservation and co-existence initiatives in the human-elephant relationship.

When Jacqueline Fenandez’s crystal clear articulation of the need for sustainable solutions to ensure the continued existence of the elephant in the wild permeated the darkened Hall de Galle, the impact on the audience on the magnitude of the problem was surely palpable.

Produced and directed by Phillip Buccellato, the documentary traces the co-existence between humans and elephants but as a result of development and increasing human population, the loss of elephant habitat resulting in conflict situations, which has become a widespread concern and a dire focus for the continued existence of the elephant.

A highlight of the film was some of the award winning pioneering and innovative sustainability solutions being implemented by SLWCS.

Some of which are the Elephant Orange Project using citrus as an alternative crop, electric fences, the Ele-Alert Elephant Intrusion Early Warning system, beehive fences and the Ele-Friendly Bus for the village, a danger-free transport mode for the villagers.

For Chairman of Colombo Jewellery Stores Akram Cassim, these two events at GLF marked yet another step being taken in his quest towards conserving the elephants in the wild.

A wildlife enthusiast himself, Cassim who mooted the collaboration with the SLWCS believes that CJS can make a difference in integrating sustainable solutions to human-elephant habitat.

“Being at GLF highlighted all the initiatives that are currently in place but it also enabled us to engage in educating multiple stakeholders on the dire need to maintain an ecological balance with this majestic creature, who is so symbolic of Sri Lanka’s cultural image.”

Last modified on Tuesday, 26 January 2016 08:49