Species Conservation

The Novel Species Paving the way for Biodiversity Conservation Program was initiated to drive research and awareness on Sri Lanka’s less charismatic but no less important threatened species. The program fuels research on vulnerable species lacking scientific data and undertakes awareness-raising campaigns in Sri Lanka to promote appreciation for the more obscure species on the island.

Dilmah Conservation in partnership with the Herpetological Foundation of Sri Lanka and in association with the internationally acclaimed lichenologist Dr. Gothamie Weerakoon, have uncovered over 40 species in Sri Lanka previously unknown to science.


The ‘Novel Species Paving the way for Biodiversity Conservation Programme’ has uncovered over 40 species previously unknown to science, among them are included 2 species of gecko, 4 snake species, 12 frogs and 23 lichens.

Click here to view the full list of species identified.

The programme also supported the discovery of 162 new Lichen records from Sri Lanka; while these species have been previously discovered in other countries, they had not been recorded from Sri Lanka before.




  • Dr. Weerakoon and her research team discovered the lichen Polymeridium fernandoi: this tropical lichen species was found growing on tree barks in the Sinharaja Rainforest. The team named the lichen after the Dilmah Tea founder Mr. Merrill J. Fernando in commemoration of the continual proactive efforts taken by Dilmah to drive research on these fascinating and underappreciated lifeforms.
  • the snakes Dendrelaphis sinharajensis (Sinharaja Tree Snake) and Aspidura ravanai, the Dilmah Shrub Frog Psuedophilautus dilmah, poetically discovered in the very same location that James Taylor planted Sri Lanka’s first ever tea plant in 1867.
  • Heterodermia queensberryi – a rare species of lichen discovered growing in Dilmah’s Queensberry estate.


  • A research paper was published by Dr Gothamie Weerakoon and her team, based on the DNA sequence obtained of the lichen species Leightoniella zeylanensis. The paper determined that the original classification of the particular lichen belonged only to the Pannariaceae group, and not both the Collemataceae and Pannariaceae families as previously determined. The paper can be accessed here.
  • 2015
  • 2017
  • 2018