Home / Front Page / Rohan Pethiyagoda new Tea Board Chairman

Rohan Pethiyagoda new Tea Board Chairman


Comments / 1420 Views / Monday, 19 October 2015 00:05


Untitled-1Popular taxonomist and winner of the Rolex Award for Enterprise, Rohan Pethiyagoda, has been appointed as the new Chairman of the Sri Lanka Tea Board by Plantation Industries Minister Navin Dissanayake.He became famous for setting up the Wildlife Heritage Trust (WHT), a foundation he established in 1990 to further biodiversity exploration in Sri Lanka, with the business-model of publishing natural history books and channeling the proceeds into further exploration and research.



From 1981-82 Pethiyagoda served as an engineer in the Division of Biomedical Engineering of the Ministry of Health, Sri Lanka, and from 1982-87 as director of that institution. In 1984 he was concurrently appointed Chairman of Sri Lanka’s Water Resources Board. He resigned from Government office in 1987 to commence work on a project to explore the island’s freshwater fishes, which led to his first book, Freshwater fishes of Sri Lanka (1990), a richly-illustrated account of the country’s freshwater-fish fauna.

His project to convert abandoned tea plantations into natural forest was honoured by the Rolex Awards for Enterprise in 2000.

In recognition of his contribution to biodiversity conservation, Pethiyagoda, a Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences, served as Advisor on Environment and Natural resources to the Government of Sri Lanka from 2002-2004 and was in 2005 elected Deputy Chair of the IUCN Species Survival Commission. In 2008 Pethiyagoda was elected to the board of trustees of the International Trust for Zoological Nomenclature, having previously served a four-year term as Deputy Chair of the Assurance Group of the British American Tobacco Biodiversity Partnership. 

He is a Research Associate of the Australian Museum and serves as editor for Asian Freshwater Fishes of the journal Zootaxa. Several new species have been named in his honour, including the fishes Dawkinsia rohani and Rasboroides rohani; the dragon lizard Calotes pethiyagodai; the jumping spider Onomastus pethiyagodai and the dragonfly Macromidia donaldi pethiyagodai.

Pethiyagoda had his secondary education at S. Thomas’ College, Mount Lavinia and holds a B.Sc. (Eng.) Hons. in Electrical and Electronics Engineering, King’s College, University of London and an M. Phil. in Biomedical Engineering, University of Sussex.


Share This Article


COMMENTS

Today's Columnists

Plastic bags: So easy to substitute and so difficult to get rid of

30 March 2017

  Lately very encouraging news was published related to an increased number of countries and cities banning non-reusable plastic bags. Amongst them, Kenya and Delhi.  Currently Botswana, Eritrea, Kenya, Mauritania, Mor...


The political hypocrisy of President Maithripala Sirisena: Muslim IDPs tossed out

29 March 2017

President Maithripala Sirisena A Tamil saying goes thus: “Stealing the neighbour’s chicken for the mother’s almsgiving.”  President Sirisena in his total betrayal of the Muslims did just that with on...


The new technology revolution

29 March 2017

Japan, China, Singapore, Thailand and even India are automating industry at speed   By C. R. de Silva Current global developments Revolutionary changes in technology, following on the heels of globalisation, are c...


People management in a rapidly transforming business world

29 March 2017

It is well known that businesses have to constantly evolve to keep pace with the changes around them. The rise of digital technologies is disrupting the way we work and live. Technologies that didn’t exist till about a decade ago have now be...


Columnists More