By Renuka Jeya Raj

To celebrate World Wetlands Day we bring you photographs from the Thalangama Wetland

The Thalangama wetland comprises water, vegetation and paddy fields, and is in the country’s administrative capital of Sri Jayawardenapura. The wetland is a popular site for bird watchers, nature lovers and visitors wanting to enjoy its marshes, waterways and lush foliage.

The Thalangama tank. According to the National Wetland Directory it comprises an irrigation area of 95 acres and a non-irrigable area of 111 acres (about 83 ha. in total). It was built for paddy cultivation during the era of King Parakramabahu VI (1551-1547 AD) who reigned in the ancient Kotte kingdom to which the tank belongs. (photo: Neil Palmer/IWMI).
According to the National Wetland Directory, the Thalangama tank comprises an irrigation area of 95 acres and a non-irrigable area of 111 acres (about 83 ha. in total). It was built for paddy cultivation during the era of King Parakramabahu VI (1551-1547 AD) who reigned in the ancient Kotte kingdom to which the tank belongs (photo: Neil Palmer/IWMI).

The National Wetlands Directory prepared by the Central Environment authority (CEA), IWMI and the World Conservation Union (IUCN) in 2006 lists 90 species of birds of which 13 are migrants, 41 plant species, 12 species of reptiles, 10 species of mammals and 15 freshwater fish species in this wetland.

The tanks is also a rich resource for the community that surrounds it. People wade in regularly to collect lotus leaves that are supplied to the kades (small shops) to wrap a meal of rice. The lotus flowers are collected at day break by temple worshippers, to offer to the Buddha.

The tank is a breeding ground for the openbill stork, so-called because of the gap between the upper and lower mandibles in the adults. Pictured here are juveniles. (Photo: Neil Palmer/IWMI)
The tank is a breeding ground for the openbill stork, so-called because of the gap between the upper and lower mandibles in the adults. Pictured here are juveniles (photo: Neil Palmer/IWMI).
A spine-legged redbolt dragonfly perches on a leaf by the  Thalangama tank. This dragonfly is in the near-threatened category (Photo: Jagath Gunawardena).
A spine-legged redbolt dragonfly perches on a reed by the Thalangama tank. This dragonfly is listed in the near-threatened category of the Sri Lanka National Red List 2012 (photo: Jagath Gunawardena).
A water monitor basks in the sun in the shrubs by the Thalangama wetland. The water monitor was the first Sri Lankan reptile to receive legal protection under the 1937 Fauna and Flora Protection Act http://faolex.fao.org/docs/pdf/srl22041.pdf
A water monitor basks in the sun in the shrubs by the Thalangama wetland. The water monitor was the first Sri Lankan reptile to receive legal protection under the 1937 Fauna and Flora Protection Act (photo: Neil Palmer/IWMI).
The tanks is also a rich resource for the local people. Here a farmer takes his cows for their  daily dip (photo: Neil Palmer/IWMI).
The tanks is also a rich resource for the local people. Here a farmer takes his cows for their daily dip (photo: Neil Palmer/IWMI).

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