In 1999, Sri Lanka was granted 39,860 Swiss francs from the Ramsar Small Grants Fund for the project entitled "Understanding the ecological character of the lagoon system in the Bundala National Park", as a part of a larger project, "Irrigation Water Management and Bundala National Park," which was intended to devise a water quality and quantity monitoring system and to assess the economic values of the resources on-site. The Park was at that time the only Ramsar site in the country and is home to a wide range of species from elephants to turtles. Due to the flow of irrigation water from upstream, desalinization and euthrophication have become serious problems in the lagoons within the Park. The grant was used for investigation of the ecological characteristics of Bundala National Park, establishment of a database to aid in site management (including mapping of information about the Park and surrounding area by using GIS), and quantifying the identified ecological characters.
In coordination with the final SGF project report, in early 2002 IUCN-Sri Lanka, on behalf of the Department of Wildlife Conservation, has published an attractive 54-page book entitled Guide to Bundala: a guide to the biodiversity of Bundala National Park, a Ramsar wetland in Sri Lanka (ISBN 955-8177-12-1), compiled and edited by Channa N. B. Bambaradeniya, with financial support from the Ramsar Bureau.
Following a Foreword by Dayananda Kariyawasam, Director of the Department of Wildlife Conservation, and a summary of the contents in the Sinhala and Tamil languages, the English-language text covers a wide range of topics, including vegetation types and habitats, animals to be found in the Park, "birding hotspots", threats to biodiversity, and useful advice to Park visitors (like "Do not shout, sing, clap or play musical instruments. Speak softly."), with annexes listing mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, and butterflies to be found in Bundala.
Nicely illustrated with maps and photos, this small book will be useful, not only as a visitors' guide, but also for researchers interested in Sri Lanka's wealth of wetland flora and fauna. It is available from the IUCN Sri Lanka Country Office in Colombo, , and from the Department of Wildlife Conservation, .
Please don't request this book directly from the Ramsar Bureau -- we have only a few file copies for ourselves.