In conjunction with the International Day for Biological Diversity 2021, Sunway University Press successfully organised a virtual forum Bear Essentials of Biodiversity: From Passion to Empowerment. The event celebrated biodiversity awareness with a forum discussion on bear and wildlife conservation.
The event was officiated and graced by Professor Elizabeth Lee, Chief Executive Officer of Sunway Education Group and Professor Graeme Wilkinson, Vice-Chancellor of Sunway University. Other guests who attended were wildlife and conservation experts from all around the world, namely representatives from International Association for Bear Research and Management, Global Environment Centre, Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre, Sarawak Biodiversity Centre, as well as academics, researchers and students.
“This beautiful book by one of Sunway University’s leading conservation biologists provides a fascinating account of an important bear species of south Asia, namely the Sloth Bear of Sri Lanka. It is an important scientific book that documents for the first time the biology and ecology of the bears as well as some of the challenges arising from human encroachment on their habitats. Consistent with our commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals, we are proud that our biologists, such as the author Associate Professor Shyamala Ratnayeke, are making an outstanding contribution to SDG 15 (Life on Land) through their efforts in researching, documenting and preserving biodiversity,” said Professor Graeme Wilkinson, Vice-Chancellor of Sunway University.
Wildlife and conservation experts from all around the world, namely representatives from Sunway University, International Association for Bear Research and Management, Global Environment Centre, Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre, Sarawak Biodiversity Centre, as well as academics, researchers and students.
The forum was held followed by the launch of the book, Sloth Bear: The Barefoot Bear of Sri Lanka, co-authored by ecologist Dr Shyamala Ratnayeke and well-known wildlife photographer Luxshmanan Nadaraja. The book details the behaviour and life history of sloth bears, and highlighted the urgent conservation measures needed to improve the plight of this unique bear species.
Dr Shyamala explained that biodiversity awareness is important as human health and wellbeing is fundamentally linked to the health of our planet and the plants, animals, and other life forms found on Earth, and we can all contribute in our own way to planetary health through our daily lifestyle choices.
“Scientists need to do better at sharing their work with society. This book gave me that golden opportunity. I was absolutely fascinated by sloth bears and I wanted this book to reflect what I had learned about them in words and pictures,” said Dr Shyamala as she promised to be engaged with bear research for a long time.
The Barefoot Bear of Sri Lanka’s promotional poster.
Clockwise from top-left: Professor Elizabeth Lee (Chief Executive Officer of Sunway Education Group), Dharsanaa Rajendran (winner of a free signed copy), Ng Wai Pak (winner of a free signed copy), Luxshmanan Nadaraja, Dr Shyamala Ratnayeke and Professor Graeme Wilkinson (Vice Chancellor of Sunway University).
The book is available online at press.sunway.edu.my and at major bookstores such as Kinokuniya, MPH and Gerakbudaya.