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 member of the IUCN Species Survival Commission: Cat Specialist Group, Wildlife Conservation Network Scholar, Re:wild Associate Scientist, and a member of the Fishing Cat Conservation Alliance, 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.
Ratnayaka, A. A. W., Serieys, L. E. K., Prasad, T., Leighton, G. R. M., Sanderson, J. G., & Leung, L. K.-P. (2021). Urban habitat use and home ranges of fishing cats in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Mammalian Biology, 102, 217-277. https://doi.org/10.1007/s42991-021-00198-z
Ratnayaka, A. A. W. (2021). First pictures of fishing cats in hyper urban landscape Colombo Sri Lanka. CATnews, 73, 19-20.
Mugerwa, B., Adhya, T., Ratnayaka, A., Thudugala, A., Napolitano, C., & Sanderson, J. (2020). Are we doing enough to protect the World’s small wild cats? CATnews, 71 (Spring 2020), 42–47.
Ratnayaka, A. (2017). A Dance With Dragons. Loris, Volume 27 (5&6), 20-21.
Mukherjee, S., Appel, A., Duckworth, J. W., Sanderson, J., Dahal, S., Willcox, D. H. A., Herranz Muñoz, V., Malla, G., Ratnayaka, A. A. W., Kantimahanti, M., Thudugala, A., Thaung, R., & Rahman, H. (2016). Prionailurus viverrinus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T18150A50662615. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-2.RLTS.T18150A50662615.en
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!).