I was honored to receive the President’s Award for Scientific Publication on October 31st 2014. As I’ve noted elsewhere, this is the result of a lot of hard work by many people. I am most thankful to Sameera Weerathunga and T. Kumara for sticking with a very demanding job despite all challenges, Ms. Nisha Suhood for doing all that is necessary behind the scenes and more, and Dr. Devaka Weerakoon, our longtime collaborator at the University of Colombo. I’m also lucky to have a wonderful and supportive husband, Sergey Kryazhimskiy. And of course where would anyone be without their beloved parents. Thanks Mom & Dad.
But, in a constant reminder that all good things must pass, I am very sorry to have lost a beloved member of the family. I cannot write this post without also honoring the memory of Dr. Arkady Kryazhimskiy, my dear father-in-law. A brilliant mathematician, wonderful father, and gentle human being. May he rest in peace and may his ideas live on.
By Michael Pardo, Cornell University
Monday, March 3, 2014
,  and their calves spotted at Teak Reservoir
Sometimes it’s easy to become so focused on elephants that I forget about the other fascinating creatures that share their habitat. This afternoon, we were watching , , and their calves at the edge of the Teak Reservoir when a large gaggle of tourist jeeps frightened them off.
We decided to stay put for a few minutes after the tourists left, in the hope that the elephants might return. No such luck, but our patience was rewarded with something else. Continue reading
Guest post by Michael Pardo, Cornell University
December 18, 2012
A breathtaking expanse of bushes peppered with trees. That is my first impression of Uda Walawe National Park as we pass through the entrance gate in the early hours of the morning. The shrubs grow densely packed on either side of the ochre-colored road, like a vertically challenged forest. They are interspersed with teak saplings, a reminder of the days when this park was a timber plantation. Towering banyan trees soar above the surrounding vegetation, peacocks perched in their uppermost branches. In the distance, I can see the blue mountains and waterfalls of Nuwara Eliya, and above them, a steely sky striated with rain-laden clouds. A grey mongoose crosses the road ahead of us, stopping briefly to stare at our jeep before disappearing into the wall of greenery. Flocks of Common Mynas and Spotted Doves spring into the air as we rumble past.
***Please note change of title***
Who: Shermin de Silva
What: ELEPHANT BEHAVIOR AND CONSERVATION: Lessons From Uda Walawe
When: July 12 2011, 6:00 pm
Where: Institute of Engineers, Colombo 07
An artist’s reconstruction of what the ancient herd may have looked like, here showing Stegotetrabelodon
The evolution of behavior is tricky to study for one very simple reason: behaviors usually don’t fossilize. While anatomy can be reconstructed based on skeletal remains and imprints, how might one glimpse how a living, breathing organism behaved millions of years ago? Continue reading