Vital Northern Mangroves Need Uncompromising Protection

On the northern coast of Sri Lanka in the Mannar District is a place of extraordinary importance to conservation and to the economic wellbeing of the human populations who have lived off its bounty for centuries. Vidattaltivu (Wedithalathive) is an amazing complex of interconnected ecosystems; it drives every activity there and beyond.

The ecosystems of Vidattaltivu – sea grasses, mangroves, mud flats and salt marshes – are all vital for the diversity of the species they support. In 2009, at the end of the civil war, a Northern Strategic Environmental Assessment was inaugurated that looked at all the sensitive areas that had now been opened in the North. After five years of study, a comprehensive report was published that concluded due to its importance to biodiversity and people, Vidattaltivu be designated as a Protected Area. In 2016, it was declared a Nature Reserve by Extraordinary Gazette (No. 1956/13). Yet just one year later, in 2017, a joint paper was presented to the cabinet by the Ministry of Wildlife and Ministry of Forests to de-gazette Vidattaltivu. Why?

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