About Me

I am a graduate in Wildlife and Conservation Management from the University of Queensland, Australia, and I’m currently reading for a Masters at the same university. A Wildlife Conservation Network (WCN) Scholar, Global Wildlife Conservation Associate Scientist and a member of the Fishing Cat Working Group, I have a strong interest in Sri Lankan wildlife and in particular the ecology and conservation of urban mesocarnivores. In 2017, I co-founded the non-profit Small Cat Advocacy & Research and I’m currently conducting research on the world’s only known hyper-urban population of fishing cats, found in Colombo.

A chance encounter with an orphaned fishing cat in 2012, made me pivot from studying the Sri Lankan leopard, and focus solely on this elusive, amphibious feline. I founded the Urban Fishing Cat Conservation Project in 2013, and my research focuses on studying how the species is adapting to the rapid urbanisation, while raising the species profile amongst stakeholders and the public. This project was the first in the world to use GPS collars to track this species and is the first in Sri Lanka to collar and track female fishing cats.

My team and I work closely with the Department of Wildlife Conservation, the Sri Lanka Land Development Corporation, and the Urban Development Authority to uncover the secret life of this endangered species, and understand how we can better protect it, along with its urban habitats.

Sirius and Vega

These two are the loves of my life and my world revolves around them. So here are my babies.

Sirius (L) is a Great Dane, Rottweiler, Doberman, Ridgeback, American Pit Bull Terrier, German Shepherd mix. Vega (R) is a German Shepherd, Rottweiler mix.

Peer-reviewed publications

Mugerwa, B., Adhya, T., Ratnayaka, A., Thudugala, A., Napolitano, C., Sanderson, J. & all other summit participants. (2020). Are we doing enough to protect the World’s small wild cats?. CATnews 71, p. 42-47.

Mukherjee, S., Appel, A., Duckworth, J.W., Sanderson, J., Dahal, S., Willcox, D.H.A., Herranz Muñoz, V., Malla, G., Ratnayaka, A., Kantimahanti, M., Thudugala, A. & Thaung R. and Rahman, H. (2016). Prionailurus viverrinus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T18150A50662615.

Publications

Ratnayaka, A. (2017). A Dance With Dragons. Loris, Volume 27(5&6), p. 20-21.

Ratnayaka, A. (2016). Small cats as urban conservation flagships: the ecology and behaviour or fishing cats in Sri Lanka’s cities. In: Proceedings of the rufford in-country conference Sri lanka. Bio Conservation Society (BCSL), pp. 27.

Ratnayaka, A. (2016). The sound of silence: Lotek WildCell SLG collars. Small Wild Cat Conservation News, Volume 1(2), p. 21.

Ratnayaka, A. (2016). The industrious cat. Small Wild Cat Conservation News, Volume 1(2), p. 12-13.

Ratnayaka, A. (2015). Radio-collaring fishing cats in urban wetlands. In: Proceedings of the First International Fishing Cat Conservation Symposium. Fishing Cat Working Group, pp. 34-36.

Support my work

In 2019 I became a Milkywire Impacter. Milkywire is an incredible platform that allows you to connect with and support a number of Impactors just like me, who fight to preserve wildlife, clean our oceans, save habitats and combat climate change.

What’s really great is that through Milkywire you are able to support projects and impacters directly without any middlemen, as it does not use the top down strategy. Instead the Impactor of your choosing receives at least 80% of your donation!

All you have to do is download the Milkywire app (App Store / Google Play), and by supporting the work I do with my team, you get access to exclusive content of our work (things that aren’t shared on social media!).