Who am I?

My name is Anjallee Sheathal Prabhakaran and my goal is to become a wildlife conservationist. I graduated from Deakin University of Environmental Science with a BSc. in Wildlife and Conservation Biology. Although Australia is known as a “hub” for wildlife conservation, Sri Lanka is my home and a tropical island with incredible biodiversity; the home to which my heart guided me back to in order to follow my desired path and help make positive change where it is greatly needed.

Upon my return, I found my initial footing by becoming an intern with the Sri Lanka Wildlife and Conservation Society (SLWCS) where I assisted my supervisor, Chandima Fernando, with carnivore research, elephant identification and volunteer coordination. I further continued to create an elephant identification catalog for the bull elephants of Wasgamuwa National Park. Some of the many aspects that made this experience an adventure was walking through the proposed buffer-zone wilderness areas of Wasgamuwa; setting up camera traps, sand traps, carrying out dung transects, tracking elephants, drone flying, occasionally wading waist deep in mud and even experiencing the indescribable emotions of being in the presence of herds of elephants whilst observing their behavior.  

A new chapter began for me when I leaped into a new realm; becoming a Safari Guide / Ranger Coordinator, and learning the ins and outs of the safari travel industry. The following two years became an exciting, intertwined combination of diverse experiences; from Wild Coast Tented Lodge in Yala National Park, where I viewed my first wild leopard, to Cape Weligama Resort where I observed my first blue whale! On top of finding my footing through various aspects of safari lodge administration and curating guest experiences, my primary role became nature guiding, hosting and sharing my knowledge and passions for the wilderness with everyone I came across. One of the many pleasures I found as a Safari Guide, was the ability to find and focus on new hobbies and passions which for me became wildlife photography, leopard profiling, bird watching and further observation of the complexity of animal behavior.

Eventually, the time came for me to return to my goals in attentive wildlife research and conservation. I found my way back to those roots by applying as a volunteer for Urban Fishing Cat Conservation Project where I quickly moved up to an Intern. After a short while, working with Anya Ratnayake and expressing my will to make positive change and create awareness, I was offered employment as Conservation Communications Officer for Small Cat Advocacy and Research; an organization of which Anya Ratnayake is Co-Founder.

Research and awareness for the small carnivores of Sri Lanka has become a focus for me since commencing my experiences with the team at Small Cat Advocacy and Research (SCAR). The adventurous tasks have involved exploring the urban wetlands of Colombo; assisting in collecting scat samples, removing alien invasive vegetation and setting up camera traps for Urban Fishing Cat Conservation Project research – to handling social media awareness platforms, creating educational videos, posters and hosting live chats with guest speakers. Currently, with a determined team of young conservationists, we are in the process of planning our first extensive conservation project together; updates for which will be shared here!

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