Samantha Gunasekara

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Samantha Gunasekara
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Rajasinghe Samantha Gunasekara

(1955-04-03) April 3, 1955 (age 68)
Dehiwala, Sri lanka
NationalitySri Lankan
CitizenshipSri Lanka
  • Bsc
  • Msc
Alma mater
  • Open University of Sri Lanka
  • International University of Andalucía
  • Author
  • Environmentalist
  • Researcher
  • Scientist
  • Wildlife photographer
  • Social worker
Notable work
  • Export trade of Indigenous fresh water fishes of Sri Lanka (2011)
  • Our Common Heritage (2007)
  • Sri Lanka Customs Museum (2014)

Rajasinghe Samantha Gunasekara (born 03 April 1955) is a scientist, researcher, environmentalist, wildlife photographer, author, and a social worker in Sri Lanka.


Gunasekara was born in Dehiwala, and completed his secondary education from S. De S. Jayasinghe Central College, Dehiwala, Sri Lanka; B. Sc (2002), from the Open University of Sri Lanka; M. Sc (2007), International University of Andalucía.

Early life and career

He has nearly four decades of experience in Sri Lanka Customs, and is internationally acclaimed for setting up the first ever Biodiversity Protection Unit [1] [2] of Customs in 1993, within the Sri Lanka Customs [3]. Under his guidance the Biodiversity Protection Unit was further expanded as Biodiversity, Cultural and National Heritage Protection Division (BCNP) [4] of Sri Lanka Customs

He has been an important personality in the implementing of investigation, prosecution, and detection of wildlife trade in Sri Lanka at the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) [5], throughout its history.


He has 37 years of service in the Sri Lanka, Customs, and held the position as a Deputy Director of Customs when he retired in 2018. Recently he held the position as an ambassador for United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes (UNODC) in New York, and on anti corruption in wildlife crimes in Austria.

In 2014, he was instrumental in guiding the BCNP unit of the Sri Lanka customs, in the detection of 420 MT of Rosewood which was the largest cross border smuggle of Rosewood ever reported [6].

He was pivotal in the international event of the destruction of blood ivory[7] on the 26 January 2016, making Sri Lanka the 16th country in the world, and the first in South Asia, to publicly destroy blood ivory as a symbolic gesture against elephant and rhino poaching, under the patronage of former CITES Secretary General John E. Scanlon.

Sri lanka customs

He is the founder and served as the officer in charge of Biodiversity Protection Unit and Biodiversity Protection Task Force of Sri Lanka Customs (1993) until his retirement. This movement is the first Customs Organization, which formed a separate unit among Customs Officials to control the illegal transactions of Wild Fauna & Flora.

He took the lead role in setting up of a Customs Museum [8] based on a research conducted by himself in search of evidence for “Evolving of Sri Lanka Customs” in Sri Lanka from 800 BCE. This museum is now highly acclaimed by many local and foreign scholars.

In the media



  1. "About Us | Bio Diversity Protection Unit | Sri Lanka Customs". Retrieved 2020-05-04.
  2. Rodrigo, Malaka (2010-01-23). "Green Customs to Protect Biodiveristy". Window to Nature. Retrieved 2020-05-04.
  3. "Sri Lanka Customs". Retrieved 2020-05-04.
  4. "Awards | Bio Diversity Protection Unit | Sri Lanka Customs". Retrieved 2020-05-04.
  5. "CITES". Retrieved 2020-05-04.
  6. "The Island". Retrieved 2020-05-04.
  7. Narula, Svati Kirsten. ""We destroyed those innocent lives": In a global first, Sri Lanka ceremonially demolishes and apologizes for its ivory". Quartz. Retrieved 2020-05-04.
  8. "Home | Museum | Sri Lanka Customs". Retrieved 2020-05-04.

External links

This article "Samantha Gunasekara" is from Wikipedia. The list of its authors can be seen in its historical. Articles taken from Draft Namespace on Wikipedia could be accessed on Wikipedia's Draft Namespace.