Protecting our living treasures

Aquatic Life

Community Wellbeing


Healthy Ecosystems

Nuwan De Silva thinks all fish deserve protection. He shares his experiences with WAI Wānaka.
Dr Nuwan DeSilva
Nuwan De Silva is an Estuaries and Freshwater Scientist at the Environment Southland. The council helps manage streams, rivers and estuaries in Southland region.

Originating from Sri Lanka, Nuwan stated that his respect and passion for the environment stem from the beauty of his home country.

Like Ash Rabel, Nuwan is trying to raise awareness for our underwater species and how we can protect them. With the constant threat of streams being degraded, Nuwan says that “fragmentation of populations and habitat loss poses a real risk for our fish, especially our precious threatened species like non-migratory/Alpine galaxias”.

“they are native and we cannot find these species anywhere else, so it is our job to help protect them.”

Nuwan says everyone can play a part in protecting our native species. “The first step is education. Soon the next  generation will be the ones to take  care of our waterways and their mauri”.

Nuwan is a Canterbury University Alumni, he holds a PhD in environmental sciences and a Bachelor’s degree in marine and freshwater science. Through the University, Nuwan was able to develop his knowledge and passion for the environment. Nuwan says that having an effective knowledge transfer method for new research findings related to aquatic environments helped with his own education, as well as the transfer of new information to the public. “Being able to communicate science in a way that helps people understand the risks and how they can help is key.”

The waterways across Aotearoa are a fundamental part of our way of living. Therefore, improving water quality, monitoring of streams, and raising awareness around the threats that face galaxiids and native species, is crucial. 

The work Nuwan carries out helps us build the picture for how we can protect the living treasures New Zealand is home to. But, it’s going to take a village – of volunteers, scientists, change-makers and educators – to continue protecting what we have. Will you be a part of that village? 

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