• Home
  • Prithiviraj Fernando
Prithiviraj Fernando

Prithiviraj Fernando
Centre for Conservation and Research

PhD

About

102
Publications
53,051
Reads
How we measure 'reads'
A 'read' is counted each time someone views a publication summary (such as the title, abstract, and list of authors), clicks on a figure, or views or downloads the full-text. Learn more
2,155
Citations

Publications

Publications (102)
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Human-Elephant Conflict (HEC) is one of the major socio-economic, political, and conservation issues in Sri Lanka. Most previous studies on HEC have been based on the administrative regions of the Department of Wildlife Conservation (DWC). However, frequent alterations of their boundaries make it difficult to compare between studies done in differe...
Article
Full-text available
Human-elephant conflict (HEC) has become a serious socio-economic and conservation problem in Sri Lanka. We assessed the overall level of HEC in the country during 2010–2019 and the patterns of conflict in relation to administrative districts. Globally, Sri Lanka had the highest annual elephant deaths and second highest human deaths, due to HEC. Ma...
Article
Full-text available
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...
Article
Full-text available
Obesity is a common problem in captive elephants. Therefore, physical state monitoring presents a critical aspect in preventive elephant healthcare. Some institutions lack the equipment to weigh elephants regularly, so body condition scoring (BCS) is a valuable alternative tool. As yet, the BCS of both elephant species has not been assessed compreh...
Article
Protected areas provide some of the last refuges for Asian elephants in the wild. Managing these areas for elephants will be critical for elephant conservation. Scientists know little about elephant habitat use in Asia and how invasive species or livestock grazing influence habitat use. We studied these issues in two protected areas in Sri Lanka, U...
Article
Full-text available
Tourism is a significant aspect of most ex-situ conservation establishments for Asian Elephants. We assessed reasons for visitor discontent in five highly visited establishments in Asia, by analysing on-line visitor comments. The proportion of negative reviews varied significantly between institutions. Ten reasons for visitor discontent were identi...
Article
Population health and habitat quality are intimately related and seasonal changes in habitat quality are likely to be reflected in the body condition of animals. We studied seasonal variation of body condition in free ranging Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) in Udawalawe National Park, Sri Lanka based on visual scoring of individually identified e...
Article
Full-text available
We assessed gastrointestinal strongyle prevalence and abundance in 141 captive Asian elephants under two management regimes and compared them to 50 wild elephants. Gastrointestinal nematode prevalence was found to be 38% in Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage, 90% in privately owned and 100% in wild elephants. Mean number of larvae was 1.9 in Pinnawela, 1...
Article
Genetic variability among captive and wild ring-tailed lemurs (Lemur catta) was assessed using mitochondrial and nuclear DNA data. A 529 bp segment of mtDNA was sequenced and 9 microsatellite loci were genotyped for 286 ring-tailed lemurs. Samples were obtained from the well-studied L. catta population at the Bezà Mahafaly Special Reserve and from...
Article
Full-text available
Asian elephants are difficult to observe because of habitat constraints and behavioural adaptations to avoid people. Consequently, accurate information on their movement patterns, habitat occupancy and resource use can only be obtained through radio- tracking. GPS radio telemetry is particularly useful for this purpose as it provides a wealth of hi...
Article
Full-text available
Shifting cultivation, in which fields are traditionally cultivated for two or three consecutive years and left fallow for four to five years, is an ancient practice still prevalent in the dry zone of Sri Lanka. Traditionally, shifting agriculture is rain dependent and is limited to the wet season. However, traditional patterns are now changing due...
Article
Full-text available
The Bornean subspecies of Asian elephant is mainly restricted to Sabah, Malaysia. Declining revenues from logging in Sabah due to high levels of past extraction, is now leading to conversion of forests to land-uses generating greater short term revenue, such as oil palm plantations. However, such forest conversion results in habitat loss, fragmenta...
Article
Shifting cultivation, in which fields are traditionally cultivated for two or three consecutive years and left fallow for four to five years, is an ancient practice still prevalent in the dry zone of Sri Lanka. Traditionally, shifting agriculture is rain dependent and is limited to the wet season. However, traditional patterns are now changing due...
Article
Full-text available
Dwarfism is unusual in wild animals. Individuals with disproportionate dwarfism are especially unlikely to survive in the wild as shorter limbs impose severe fitness costs in predators or prey. As social mega-herbivores without predators, Asian elephants are one of the very few species in whom a dwarf phenotype may not be lethal. Here we report the...
Article
Full-text available
Human-elephant conflict (HEC) threatens the survival of endangered Asian elephants (Elephas maximus). Translocating "problem-elephants" is an important HEC mitigation and elephant conservation strategy across elephant range, with hundreds translocated annually. In the first comprehensive assessment of elephant translocation, we monitored 16 translo...
Article
Full-text available
A new species of frog tentatively assigned to the genus Polypedates is described from the Gilimale forest reserve of the Sabaragamuwa province of Sri Lanka. This tree frog is characterized by unique osteological characteristics in the skull which distinguish it from all other congeners, such as the presence of a series of maxillary teeth progressiv...
Conference Paper
A satellite elephant collar is a device mounted on an elephant's neck to track its position and movements. This information is essential for conservation and management of this highly endangered species. Currently available units are proprietary designs by few manufacturers and no literature can be found about their internal operation. This lack of...
Article
Full-text available
We assessed water-body use by elephants through monitoring elephant signs around them. Elephant footprints and dung piles were recorded at 25 water bodies fortnightly for one year. Elephants preferred perennial water bodies and avoided those with temporary human dwellings. Human activities did not significantly affect elephant use of water bodies,...
Article
Full-text available
We assessed water-body use by elephants through monitoring elephant signs around them. Elephant footprints and dung piles were recorded at 25 water bodies fortnightly for one year. Elephants preferred perennial water bodies and avoided those with temporary human dwellings. Human activities did not significantly affect elephant use of water bodies,...
Article
Full-text available
The two forms of white rhinoceros; northern and southern, have had contrasting conservation histories. The Northern form, once fairly numerous is now critically endangered, while the southern form has recovered from a few individuals to a population of a few thousand. Since their last taxonomic assessment over three decades ago, new material and an...
Article
Full-text available
Human-elephant conflict (HEC) is widespread across Asian elephant range (Sukumar 1989; Santhiapillai & Jackson 1990). The threat to elephants from HEC makes it a serious conservation problem. Loss of human life and limb, and economic losses due to crop raiding and property damage by elephants, makes it a major socio-economic and political issue (Fe...
Article
Full-text available
Digestive physiology and movement patterns of animal dispersers determine deposition patterns for endozoochorously dispersed seeds. We combined data from feeding trials, germination tests, and GPS telemetry of Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) to (1) describe the spatial scale at which Asian elephants disperse seeds; (2) assess whether seasonal dif...
Article
We studied the ranging patterns of 10 elephants in and around the Yala protected area complex, southern Sri Lanka, using VHF radio telemetry. All tracked elephants displayed similar ranging patterns. The observed home ranges were small (mean=115.2±64.0 km2) relative to reported home ranges in India, possibly in response to high habitat productivity...
Article
After the Asian tsunami the media was inundated with reports of aberrant behavior among animals attributed to a "sixth sense" that allowed them to respond to the catastrophe ahead of the impact. We present behavior data from two satellite-collared Asian elephants that ranged close to the tsunami impact area in Sri Lanka. These data indicate that ne...
Article
Full-text available
Yala National Park in southeast Sri Lanka, lay in the direct path of the December 2004 tsunami, hence af- forded a rare opportunity to study tsunami impacts on a natural ecosystem. We surveyed the impacted area and studied the damage caused to vegetation, early re- sponse of vegetation, and effects on animals. Tsunami incursion was patchy, much of...
Article
Full-text available
With a total population of less than 60 individuals limited to two locations, the Javan rhinoceros is perhaps the most endangered large mammal on earth. Although species specific information is crucial to its conservation, its precarious status, habitat inaccessibility, and behavioral adaptations pose major obstacles to its study. Here we report on...
Research
Full-text available
The Asian elephant is an endangered species and the main challenge confronting its conservation is conflict with humans. The north-central part of Sri Lanka, where Wasgamuwa is situated, is an important area for elephant conservation. Due to the opening up of extensive tracts of land for irrigated agriculture over the past few decades, as over most...
Chapter
Full-text available
Throughout Asia, elephants come into conflict with people, making elephant conservation a difficult and complex issue, with socio-economic and political overtones. Previous efforts to conserve elephants and mitigate the human-elephant-conflict in Sri Lanka have focused on translocating and confining elephants within protected areas. However, protec...
Article
This study examines the population genetic structure of Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) across India, which harbours over half the world's population of this endangered species. Mitochondrial DNA control region sequences and allele frequencies at six nuclear DNA microsatellite markers obtained from the dung of free-ranging elephants reveal low mt...
Article
Full-text available
Human–elephant conflict poses a major threat to elephants in many parts of Asia, including Sri Lanka. We studied human–elephant conflict in two areas with contrasting scenarios of landuse and conflict, Kahalle and Yala. Kahalle was developed and settled under the Mahaweli irrigation project and the main agricultural practice was irrigated agricultu...
Article
While microsatellite genotyping has found wide application in many fields, a number of causes that could lead to error in microsatellite genotyping have been previously reported. Here we report another cause of error that we term ‘Electrophoresis Artefacts’ (EA), which arise when high concentrations of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) products are e...
Article
In this report we describe the development and characterization of six dinucleotide microsatellite loci for the ring-tailed lemur (Lemur catta). The new markers were isolated from the genomic DNA of L. catta and all loci were found to be polymorphic when evaluated by genotyping a minimum of 34 individuals. Mendelian inheritance of each locus was ve...
Article
Full-text available
Southern India, one of the last strongholds of the endangered Asian elephant (Elephas maximus), harbours about one-fifth of the global population. We present here the first population genetic study of free-ranging Asian elephants, examining within- and among-population differentiation by analysing mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) and nuclear microsatellit...
Article
Full-text available
Loss of habitat and poaching have led to a drastic reduction in numbers of the Sumatran rhinoceros (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis). To aid in the conservation management of this species, we isolated and optimized 10 polymorphic Sumatran rhinoceros microsatellite loci. A survey of six individuals yielded a mean number of alleles of 3.7, mean expected het...
Article
We present here 10 new microsatellite markers for the mongoose lemur (Eulemur mongoz), nine of which were isolated from E. mongoz and one from Lemur catta. At least 60 individuals were genotyped for each of the 10 loci. Mendelian inheritance at each locus was tested by genotyping five captive families with known pedigrees. All loci were polymorphic...
Article
Full-text available
The origin of Borneo's elephants is controversial. Two competing hypotheses argue that they are either indigenous, tracing back to the Pleistocene, or were introduced, descending from elephants imported in the 16th-18th centuries. Taxonomically, they have either been classified as a unique subspecies or placed under the Indian or Sumatran subspecie...
Article
Full-text available
The southern white rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum simum) has suffered severe reductions in population size over the last 150 years as a result of overhunting. We optimized 10 southern white rhinoceros microsatellite loci and tested them on 30 individuals from the largest remaining population of this species. Five of the 10 loci were polymorphic wi...
Article
Full-text available
Noninvasive genotyping has not gained wide application, due to the notion that it is unreliable, and also because remedial measures are time consuming and expensive. Of the wide variety of noninvasive DNA sources, dung is the most universal and most widely used in studies. We have developed collection, extraction, and amplification protocols that a...