Felicitates animal welfare activists | Sunday Observer
World Animal Day in Sri Lanka

Felicitates animal welfare activists

11 October, 2020

Sri Lanka’s animal welfare activists commemorated World Animal Day by recognising and felicitating the many animal welfare activists who over the years have worked tirelessly in sickness and health, without considering personal safety or cost, for the betterment and upliftment of Community, Farm and Wild animals.

The felicitation ceremony which was held at the Park Street Mews Restaurant, was jointly hosted by a group of animal welfare activists and Harpo Guneratne and his team.

Two legends

Animal lovers from all walks of life, from all parts of the country gathered to pay tribute and reaffirm their commitment to our four legged friends who have no voice and depend solely on our efforts to ease their pain and reduce the atrocities that we humans have brought about on them and their environment. A highlight of the proceedings was the tribute paid to, two legends of animal welfare, Sagarika Rajakarunanayake and Deepal Wijeweera, who over the years have contributed immeasurably towards the uplift of animal welfare in Sri Lanka.

The ‘No Kill Policy’ of dogs was clinched by Sagarika after talking to the President at the time, Mahinda Rajapaksa. Though many lobbied and worked on this issue, the deed was done after she persuaded her husband Lucien to get an appointment with the President, who had not known that dogs were killed when brought in from the streets. The WHO protocol of controlling rabies through catch, neuter, vaccinate and release was explained to the President who then ordered the ‘No Kill Policy’ to come into effect. The President initially was very curious and then got very angry to know that dogs were killed in this way.

Sagarika started her own organisation, Sathwa Mithra in 1993. Much work was done in collaboration with Lorraine Bibile.

Once again Dr Nandana Atapattu and Vasanthi Nanayakkara were strong supporters. There are hundreds of interventions made by her on behalf of animals, too numerous to mention. Sagarika’s achievements and absolute dedication to the cause of animal welfare are immeasurable and she is indeed a Legend of Animal Welfare. Deepal Wijeweera is a familiar sight to most people in Colombo. Over the years, Deepal has achieved notoriety and fame as he battles the cause of our community dogs.

A familiar sight on the streets of Colombo, despite ill health and personal difficulties, Deepal continues his work and care for man’s best friend and is an example to all; if you have the will and the dedication to achieve your goals, you can and will succeed no matter what the odds are !


Animal welfare activists were recognised for their efforts with the presentation of certificates, mugs and gift vouchers and tributes were paid to them as most of them jeopardise their jobs in the cause of animal welfare. “ We have dedicated our lives every day of the year to improve the lot of our four legged friends, this year we thought it was only fitting that people island wide who despite straightened circumstances and other impediments, continue to do their best for animals and all creatures great and small”, said a senior animal welfare activist.

Brand Ambassador Sri Lanka for World Animal Day, Otara Goonewardene, Founder of Embark also spoke on the occasion, as did Harpo Guneratne, who reaffirmed the commitment of his team towards animal welfare.

In Sir David Attenborough’s words :

“If we [humans] disappeared overnight, the world would probably be better off” “Ever since we arrived on this planet as a species, we’ve cut them down, dug them up, burnt them and poisoned them. Today, we’re doing so on a greater scale than ever.”

“It’s surely our responsibility to do everything within our power to create a planet that provides a home not just for us but for all life on earth” – let us all work towards this goal, not just here in Sri Lanka but world over; not just on World Animal Day, but Every Day !