The Odiliya Group, led by Rohitha Abeygunarathne recently carried out a CSR project unlike any seen before in the real estate industry of Sri Lanka. Rohitha, a headstrong businessman, that knows the values of doing business right, still has the society and environment close to his heart. He understands, that as a real estate company that has carried out numerous land, housing, and luxury residential projects, Odiliya is bound to have had a negative impact on the environment. As lands need to be prepared for development, it results in the cutting down of trees, thus leading to animals losing their natural habitat.
This is something that has truly hit Rohitha, and ever since the inception of the Odiliya Group, he has always wanted to give back to the environment and to the society. He wanted to ensure that Odiliya gave back more to mother nature than what was taken from it. Thus, Rohitha personally embarked on a project to find a cause that the Odiliya Group got behind. It was during this time, that the Odiliya Group decided to embark on a project to protect endangered species. More accurately, the project involved the protection of the mouse deer.
The Mouse Deer (Tragulus nigricans) is listed as “Endangered” by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The species is in continuing decline. It is subject to poaching for food and affected by habitat loss. Seeing the dire situation these poor animals were in, Rohitha decided that this was the perfect way for Odiliya to give back to the environment. Along with a strong partnership, with the University of Peradeniya, Rohitha sought out three individuals that were experts in the field.
- Mr. Danushka Weerasekera: an animal scientist and a field biologist from Sri Lanka, with a particular interest in Wildlife, Wildlife genetics and Zoo Animal management. He posses field research experience in Biodiversity, Asian elephants’ Gastrointestinal Parasitology, Ecology and Conservation, especially in Wildlife Genetics around Sri Lanka, India and Africa professional experience in wildlife monitoring and management at wildlife research group (TCK), and teaching experience on Animal biology at Open University, Sri Lanka.
- Dr. Nadeeka Jayawardene: An educator with a great passion for life sciences. A researcher keen on understanding the Molecular biological basis of organisms responding to environmental stress. Lover of all things nature.
- Dr. Piyavi Wijewardene: a Sri Lankan researcher, lecturer, author and one of the examiners at Sri Lanka Institute of Development Administration.
Once the partnership was finalised, the Odiliya Group set about to begin the partnership with a sizeable donation of LKR 500,000 for the protection of the endangered species. This donation was made to develop a system of genetic identification to stop the poaching of the mouse deer. This is just the beginning, and we will be giving you monthly updates on this revolutionary project!