Taxonomic and scientific inaccuracies in a consultancy report on biodiversity: a cautionary note

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M.M. Bahir
D.E. Gabadage


The island of Sri Lanka has a heritage of astonishing biodiversity of which comparatively little remains, restricted to small forest islands. Conservation efforts have been aided by many high-quality publications, while on the other hand inaccurate reports can present obstacles to effective efforts. Here we discuss inaccuracies in a report prepared for the Department of Wildlife Conservation of Sri Lanka and the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, from which it is apparent that the consultants dominating conservation science do not appreciate the necessity of identifying species accurately, citing appropriate references, or updating their knowledge of current nomenclature and distribution of taxa. Conservation is an important national and international issue, and it is incumbent upon educators, conservation managers, legal advisors, funding agencies, officials and policy makers to work along with research scientists to ensure that inaccurate information does not endanger efforts to safeguard Sri Lanka’s remaining endangered biodiversity treasures. Towards this end, procedures for the conduct of conservation studies should be revised to incorporate input from researchers familiar with current knowledge and methods.

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Author Biographies

M.M. Bahir

Mohomed M. Bahir, the coordinator of the Taprobanica Nature Conservation Society is a conservation research biologist working on freshwater crab and reptile taxonomy. Also, he has been working on amphibian life histories.

D.E. Gabadage

Dinesh E. Gabadage, the secretary of the Taprobanica Nature Conservation Society is a conservation field biologist working on Sri Lankan herpetofauna and promoting conservation awareness of the value of biodiversity among Sri Lankan community.