Cave Biodiversity

Cave Biodiversity

Rock shelters, tunnels and perpetually dark caves occur in large numbers in Sri Lanka. Their importance to food security, public health and sustainable economies has largely gone unnoticed and unexplored by scientists, researchers and naturalists. Throughout history, these perpetually dark caves have been feared, respected and admired but their biota has for long years gone unnoticed because naturalists reasoned that conditions in them were too tough for life. Since 1689 when the eyeless salamander (Proteus anguinus) was discovered in a dark cave in Slovenia in south central Europe, many countries have focused on cave biodiversity and have recorded insects, crustaceans, molluscs, chilopods, diplopods, arachnids, fish, amphibians, bats, reptiles and birds.

Cave Biodiversity

With a view to exploring hidden biodiversity in the dark caves of Sri Lanka, Dilmah Conservation partnered with Biodiversity Sri Lanka and the Lanka Institute of Cave Science (LICAS) to document the diverse range of organisms that inhabit these dark, understudied structures.

Cave Biodiversity
  • Objectives

    • Determine species richness in each explored cave
    • Identify and characterize key sites for conservation in terms of their biological, economic and cultural values
    • Determine threats to these sites by establishing their associated human-cave interactions
    • Key expected outcome of this project will be to train community leaders and students through cave surveys and data analysis
    • Enhance local awareness and management capacity and create a better understanding of cave-dwelling fauna and flora to support conservation.
  • Progress

    • Dilmah Conservation signed an agreement with Biodiversity Sri Lanka, putting the project in motion on 29th August 2017.
    • Sthreepura tunnel in Velimada was documented, and nearly 12 different species of organisms were photographed.
    Cave Biodiversity Cave Biodiversity