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Fasciola jacksoni is a significant contributor to the health and mortality of Asian elephants, particularly those in Sri Lanka. Despite the impact of fascioliasis on elephant populations, it is a neglected veterinary disease with limited taxonomic understanding. Molecular characterization and phylogenetic analysis of F. jacksoni were carried out to evaluate its suggested basal position in the Fasciolidae. Adult worms were collected during post-mortem of elephants, and eggs were collected from living elephants in National parks across Sri Lanka. Using the mitochondrial genes nicotinamide dehydrogenase subunit 1 (nad1) and cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (cox1), and a partial 28S ribosomal DNA (28S rDNA), DNA sequences were generated from the F. jacksoni adult and egg material. Maximum likelihood (ML) phylogenetic analyses did not resolve F. jacksoni to be basal to the Fasciolidae. Furthermore, the ML analyses showed that the genus Fasciola was not monophyletic and that F. jacksoni was a sister species to the deer liver fluke Fascioloides magna. A clear framework is required to determine the taxonomic status of F. jacksoni and this current study provides the first detailed application of molecular techniques from multiple hosts across Sri Lanka with the production of reference DNA sequences for this important parasite.
This article discusses slavery and the lives of enslaved people in Jaffna, northern Sri Lanka, under Dutch and British rule. It argues that by sanctioning and tapping into a perceived local practice of slavery and legally constituting slaves, Dutch colonial rulers further strengthened the power of the dominant caste Vellalar over their subordinates. This was done through processes of registration, legal codification, and litigation. For some enslaved people, however, bureaucratization provided grounds for negotiation and resistance, as well as the potential to take control over their individual lives. British rule that took over areas controlled by the Dutch East India Company or Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie—first in the guise of the East India Company (1796–1802), then under the Crown (1802–1948)—introduced a number of measures, acts, and incentives to dismantle slavery as it was practiced on the island. This article draws from Dutch and early British period petitions, court records, commission reports, and slave registers to interrogate the discourse of freedom that permeated the British abolition of slavery from 1806 to 1844 and suggests that in Jaffna after abolition there remained bondage in freedom.
Post-disaster archaeological investigations at Jaffna Fort have revealed material demonstrating pre-colonial contact, shedding new light on the importance of the site in Indian Ocean trade and communications networks before European occupation.
Towards a comprehensive revision of Gesneriaceae in Sri Lanka, 12 names are here typified, of which 11 are lectotypifications, including one second-step lectotypification, and the other is a neotypification.
The Endangered Asian elephant Elephas maximus comes into widespread conflict with agrarian communities, necessitating active management. The species’ distribution is of primary importance for management planning. However, data-based countrywide distribution maps have not been available for any of the 13 Asian elephant range states. We conducted a 5 × 5 km grid-based questionnaire survey in Sri Lanka to produce an island-wide elephant distribution map. Elephants occur over 59.9% of Sri Lanka and people are resident in 69.4% of elephant range, indicating the challenge of separating people and elephants at a landscape scale. Elephants in Sri Lanka have lost 16.1% of their range since 1960 but their current distribution remains largely contiguous. We found the range of adult males was 15.1% greater, and less seasonal, than that of herds, possibly because males have a higher tolerance for conflict with people. The distribution of conflict coincided with the co-occurrence of humans and elephants. We conclude that a human–elephant coexistence model is the only viable option for effectively mitigating human–elephant conflict and conserving elephants in Sri Lanka. The findings are currently being used to effect a paradigm change in elephant conservation and management in the country.
Sri Lanka ranks highest in the region for human development. Despite producing the first female head of state in the world, the country has failed to achieve substantial gains in the gender inequality indices in the past decade. In recent years, the proportion of females in secondary education has equalled that of males, and young women have become the majority among the university entrants. These educated young women are likely to face psychosocial distress in a patriarchal society where they would be expected to fulfil traditional gender roles. This article describes gender disparities that could affect the mental well-being of young Sri Lankan women and the need for awareness among mental health professionals in the country.
In October 2015, by co-sponsoring United Nations Human Rights Council Resolution 30/1 entitled “Promoting Reconciliation, Accountability and Human Rights in Sri Lanka”, the Sri Lankan government formally committed to embarking on a transitional justice process following three decades of armed conflict. Several thousand people allegedly disappeared during this period, often in connection with the armed conflict or as a result of internal disturbances. It is in this context that the Office on Missing Persons (OMP) was operationalized in 2018. This article discusses the nature of tracing investigations into the fate and whereabouts of missing persons of the type to be carried out by the OMP. It argues that these investigations, while ostensibly pursuing a humanitarian approach, cannot be artificially and hermetically separated from criminal justice processes. Further, it seeks to demonstrate that an integrated approach whereby strong linkages with criminal processes are provided for and encouraged best serves the interests of truth and justice.
In the last thirty years, tens of thousands of Sri Lankans have experienced enforced disappearances of family members. In 2016, many members of such families came before the Consultation Task Force on Reconciliation Mechanisms, which was mandated to gather views on how people thought the transitional justice mechanisms should be designed, how they should be established and how they should function. This process allowed the families to share their experiences and to outline what they saw as important in shaping the transitional justice mechanisms. This article surveys the complex nature of their distress and psychosocial needs, as expressed by them during the consultations. It proposes that transitional justice mechanisms should be designed to protect their psychosocial well-being, address their complex psychosocial needs, and provide them with support and protection before, during and after their engagement in the mechanisms.
This article examines diverse practices in the establishment of marriage partnerships in eighteenth-century Sri Lanka,1 parts of which were controlled by the Dutch East India Company (VOC). Family law was an area in which the attempt to transform local practices was conspicuously present, but not fully achieved. Lawful marriage was linked to conversion to Dutch Protestantism and to inheritance of property. In the authoritative space of the provincial board that heard the matrimonial disputes examined in this article, the Company did not proactively attempt to reform family life, an area where it could not easily dictate terms. It made a significant dent as the requirement for marriage registration was recognised by natives. But the limited reach of the introduced law is evident in the Company’s reluctant recognition that its two-step process of reading the banns and subsequent marriage ceremony created confusion and that locals still followed customary practices for forging unions. The VOC faced a normative order in the villages that was characterised by ritual underpinnings. Such local features went unrecognised in official law rules, but their perseverance is testimony to the pluralities in practice in an early colonial encounter in the Indian Ocean world.
The present study was aimed at stimulating the growth and yield of Sri Lankan tea cultivar TRI 2025 grown in different climatic regions in the country. The model was developed and calibrated using weather, crop and soil data collected from different climatic zones. The model is designed to simulate shoot replacement cycle, leaf area of a shoot, shoot growth, dry matter partitioning and tea shoot yield. The model was validated using shoot development and growth data not used for model calibration. These validation data were collected from low, mid and high elevations representing temperature and rainfall gradients in the country. Model calibration showed that thermal time required to initiate the fish leaf, 1st, 2nd and 3rd normal leaf in a tea shoot from the time of natural senescence of the scale leaves were 129, 188, 235, 296 °C days, respectively, and a tea shoot reached the harvestable stage after 393 °C days. The model simulated leaf area (cm2) and fresh weight (g/m2) of tea shoots at different developmental stages and locations which were in good agreement with the measured values at the validation stage (R2 > 0.92 and 0.98, respectively). Similarly, simulated shoot yields (g/m2/month) at the validation stage were strongly correlated with the measured values (n = 12, R2 > 0.58, RMSE = 5–17 g/m2/month). Thus, the model can be used to estimate the shoot yield of tea cultivar TRI 2025 grown in different climatic conditions in Sri Lanka. Areas requiring further improvements to the model are also discussed.
Cultural property is related to the evolution of a nation’s identity. It forms a vital link to the past, wherefrom the present and future may be nurtured and enriched. However, objects related to cultural heritage have been the target of looting and pilfering, resulting in loss to the country concerned. The situation is worsened where these objects have been removed during an era where there were no laws and regulations to control such removal. This article focuses on the loss of cultural property with reference to two specific modes of loss of particular concern to Sri Lanka—the removal of cultural property during the colonial era and the loss of cultural property during the more recent ethnic conflict. Through an analysis of the relevant laws and regulations, this article evaluates Sri Lanka’s rights to its cultural property and its efforts to regain, and preserve, its cultural heritage.
The international context seems to be increasingly exposed to multidimensional and transnational challenges, ranging from irregular migration and piracy to the violation of basic human rights. Rather than excluding a potential role for the military, many European states rely on it to face a complex security scenario. What are the reasons behind this activism? Taking Italy as a case study, this article works out two main arguments (ideational factors and interests relating to the so-called military–industrial complex) and tries to intercept their weight in the national debate leading to the decision to intervene militarily (or not) in Sri Lanka (2004–05), Haiti (2010), and in the Central Mediterranean (2015–). Ultimately, this effort contributes to understanding the role of the military instrument in Italy, a state particularly exposed to the new challenges ahead, and offers tools for research to be potentially applied in other countries that make similar use of armed forces to deal with non-conventional security threats.
This article uses the case of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) to make a conceptual argument about sovereignty. Despite its aura of natural order, sovereignty is ultimately self-referential and thus somewhat arbitrary and potentially unstable. At the heart of this unsteadiness, we posit, lies the paradox between the systematic tenets of rational governance and the capricious potential of sublime violence. Both are highly relevant to the LTTE case: the movement created de facto state institutions to mimic governance, but simultaneously deployed an elaborate transcendental register of sacrifice, meaning, and intractable power wielded by a mythical leader. To capture this paradox, we connect the literature on rebel governance with anthropological debates about divine kingship. We conceptualize sovereignty as a citational practice that involves the adaptation, imitation, and mutation of different idioms of authority: political and religious, modern and traditional, rational and mythical. Understanding sovereignty in this way debunks the idea that insurgent movements are merely lagging behind established states. As sites of mimicry, bricolage, and innovation, they transform the way sovereignty is practiced and understood, thus affecting the frame that sovereignty is.
Connections, circuits, webs, and networks: these are concepts that are overused in today's world histories. Working from a commitment to reflexive historicization, this paper points to one moment in the consolidation of these terms: the late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century visual politics of “new imperialism.” Utilizing photographs, engravings, postcards, letters, and colonial documents, the paper argues that connection was mesmerizing and can still mesmerize the historian. Being connected became possible because of visual and infrastructural projects that allowed the production and consumption of lines that literally cut sea and land. At a time of high empire, and in accordance with the dictates of Imperial Geography, particular locales or “nodes” were thus positioned in the “global.” To mount this critique of our language, the paper focuses on the infrastructural development of the port of Colombo, alongside the thinking of Halford Mackinder, the building of breakwaters in Colombo, the arrival of mass tourism, projections of capitalist improvement for the business of transshipment, and the use of the port by Indian laborers on their way to Ceylon's highland plantations. By attending to the place where connection is wrought, its material workings, and its traces in the visual, intellectual, and capitalist archive, it is argued that connectivity's forgettings and displacements come more forcefully into view. If connection had an evacuating character and could be so imperialist, what of its status in our writings?
The tropical island nation of Sri Lanka is a biodiversity hotspot with a high diversity and endemism of amphibians. The endemic, stream-dwelling Kandian torrent toad Adenomus kandianus is Critically Endangered and was considered to be extinct until its rediscovery in 2012. The species is now known from two localities in tropical montane forests. We conducted a 4-year study using transect surveys and opportunistic excursions to assess habitat associations, demographics and abundance of A. kandianus in and around Pidurutalagala Conservation Forest. We recorded a mean of 44.25 post-metamorphs per year, with a density of < 1 individual per 100 m2, with occurrence within a narrow extent (c. 0.005 km2) of the stream channel. Behaviour and microhabitat selection varied depending on sex and stage of maturity. The species preferred moderately sized montane streams with rocky substrates and woody debris, colder temperatures, and closed-canopy, intact riparian forests. We noted size-based reversed sexual dimorphism and a strong ontogenetic relationship between snout–vent length and body weight. Anthropogenic activities such as intensive crop farming deterred the species; proximity to croplands had a negative influence on abundance. We recommend re-delineation of the boundary of Pidurutalagala Conservation Forest to incorporate the toad's habitat into the core of the reserve and thus limit the impacts of human activities. Conservation and management actions such as ex-situ breeding, population monitoring, and restoration of degraded habitats could also contribute towards the persistence of this toad. Our findings provide useful insights into ecological research on and conservation of range-restricted aquatic amphibians.
The correct identification of sand fly vectors of leishmaniasis is important for controlling the disease. Genetic, particularly DNA sequence data, has lately become an important adjunct to the use of morphological criteria for this purpose. A recent DNA sequencing study revealed the presence of two cryptic species in the Sergentomyia bailyi species complex in India. The present study was undertaken to ascertain the presence of cryptic species in the Se. bailyi complex in Sri Lanka using morphological characteristics and DNA sequences from cytochrome c oxidase subunits. Sand flies were collected from leishmaniasis endemic and non-endemic dry zone districts of Sri Lanka. A total of 175 Se. bailyi specimens were initially screened for morphological variations and the identified samples formed two groups, tentatively termed as Se. bailyi species A and B, based on the relative length of the sensilla chaeticum and antennal flagellomere. DNA sequences from the mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (COI) and subunit II (COII) genes of morphologically identified Se. bailyi species A and B were subsequently analyzed. The two species showed differences in the COI and COII gene sequences and were placed in two separate clades by phylogenetic analysis. An allele specific polymerase chain reaction assay based on sequence variation in the COI gene accurately differentiated species A and B. The study therefore describes the first morphological and genetic evidence for the presence of two cryptic species within the Se. bailyi complex in Sri Lanka and a DNA-based laboratory technique for differentiating them.
This paper, based on World Health Organization and Sri Lankan sources, examines the attempts to control tuberculosis in Sri Lanka from independence in 1948. It focuses particularly on the attempt in 1966 to implement a World Health Organization model of community-orientated tuberculosis control that sought to establish a horizontally structured programme through the integration of control into the general health services. The objective was to create a cost- effective method of control that relied on a simple bacteriological test for case finding and for treatment at the nearest health facility that would take case detection and treatment to the rural periphery where specialist services were lacking. In the late 1940s and early 1950s, Sri Lanka had already established a specialist control programme composed of chest clinics, mass X-ray, inpatient and domiciliary treatment, and social assistance for sufferers. This programme had both reduced mortality and enhanced awareness of the disease. This paper exposes the obstacles presented in trying to impose the World Health Organization’s internationally devised model onto the existing structure of tuberculosis control already operating in Sri Lanka. One significant hindrance to the WHO approach was lack of resources but, equally important, was the existing medical culture that militated against its acceptance.
Through an empirical study of the state-sponsored community mediation programme in Sri Lanka known as Mediation Boards (MBs), this paper examines this local-level mediation as a hybrid practice. Established as an Alternative Dispute Resolution mechanism, the MBs were initiated as a more effective and efficient alternative to the formal courts for local and minor disputes. In the case-study conducted on an MB, it was found that there is extensive replication of formal legal procedures alongside the mediators’ own cultural interpretations of disputes. By locating this hybrid practice theoretically within the framework of legal pluralism and its broad definition of law, an attempt is made to expand the scope of the pluralistic nature of law not only to include alternative forms of law, but also to understand the dynamic interactions between multiple normative orderings.
This article considers the effects of special constitutional prerogatives for Buddhism in Sri Lanka. It argues that, contrary to the expectations of both supporters and opponents, these clauses have not done what they claim to do: they have not enhanced the dominance of Buddhism on the island. Through a detailed analysis of recent legal action, this article demonstrates how special constitutional protections for Buddhism, in fact, aggravate and authorize splits among Buddhists. In making this argument, this article points towards a larger thesis: constitutional provisions designed to ensure the inter-religious dominance of one tradition may, under certain circumstances, actually amplify intra-religious conflicts over the nature, boundaries, and doctrines of that tradition. This work therefore encourages scholars to rethink the assumed polarity between secular-liberal constitutions and religiously preferential ones. Although opposed in their expressive dimensions, religiously neutral and religiously preferential constitutions may in fact generate similar church-state conundrums. The case of Sri Lanka suggests that, in the same way as perfect religious neutrality is impossible, so too is perfect religious supremacy.
The megamouth shark, Megachasma pelagios, is a rare and poorly studied shark. In this paper, the first record of the megamouth shark is reported for Sri Lanka. The shark, a juvenile estimated at 180 cm in total length, was caught in a gillnet in close proximity (<92 km) to the Negombo fisheries harbour (7°12′11.67″N 79°49′44.35″E).