Anya Ratnayaka

Anya is a graduate in Wildlife and Conservation Management from the University of Queensland, Australia. She has a strong interest in Sri Lankan wildlife and in particular, small wild cat conservation. She is a Global Wildlife Conservation Associate Conservation Scientist, and a member of the Fishing Cat Working Group.

Anya started the Urban Fishing Cat Project in 2014, which studies the ecology and conservation of Fishing Cats in urban habitats in Colombo Sri Lanka.

A tuk tuk driver by trade, Maduranga fell in love with the work when he helped transport camera traps across a waterway via rickety a boat one fine morning in 2014. He ended up staying and setting up cameras and has been with the project ever since. Bringing in the practical field skills he gained during his time with the Special Task Force, he is an invaluable field assistant, and has saved Anya from many a field accident.

Since its inception, the project has spread small wild cat awareness among the general public and government authorities in Colombo. The team works closely with the Sri Lanka Land Reclamation & Development Corporation and the Department of Wildlife Conservation, to uncover the secret lives of this globally vulnerable and locally endangered species, and understand how they can be better protected in an ever changing urban environment.

In 2017, together with Ashan Thudugala, she initiated Small Cat Advocacy and Research (SCAR), a non-profit dedicated to the conservation and research of Sri Lanka’s three small wild cat species – Fishing Cat, Rusty Spotted Cat and the Jungle Cat.

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