Asoka C. Yapa

Born in Sri Lanka and educated at St.Thomas College, Mount Lavinia, Sri Lanka. Asoka Yapa migrated to Canada in 1970, where he received his university education in Canada with specialization in zoology and wrote his thesis on the Streamertail Hummingbird of Jamaica.

Asoka Yapa has served as Science Editor with the Canadian Forest Service and spent more than a decade as an editorial consultant for the Canadian International Development Agency in South East Asia. He also served as a Director of Communications for several federal departments of the Government of Canada. Asoka Yapa served as a Delgate, United Nations Premilinary meetings for Rio de Janeiro Earth Summitt in 1992. In 2013, Asoka Yapa authored “The Mammals of Sri Lanka”; the most comprehensive description of Sri Lanka’s mammals in eighty years, covering mammals species in the island from both land and sea. The book was proudly printed and bound in Sri Lanka with sustainably produced papers and vegetable inks. The 1012 page book contains for the first time, distribution maps for all the terrestrial mammals, drawings of dive sequences for the large whales, and representations of footprints and faeces of selected species. The book also introduced new species proposed as endemic to Sri Lanka. A chapter describing the structure and composition of Sri Lanka’s contemporary zoological architecture and another chapter on primary bibliographical sources delineates the position of the book in relation to previous literature on Sri Lanka’s mammals are two important firsts from this book. A comprehensive Bibliography with over 500 references helps research Sri Lanka’s rich mammal fauna. Illustrations for the book were provided by Gamini Ratnavira. This book is being translated to Sinhala and Tamil and books and distributed free of charge to school libraries in Sri Lanka. This book is already used as reference in the universities in Sri Lanka.

All revenues from “The Mammals of Sri Lanka” will go towards furthering zoological field research in Sri Lanka.

Asoka Yapa has edited numerous books on Sri Lankan Natural History including ‘The Birds of Sri Lanka” by Sarath Kotagama and Gamini Ratnavira. He also edited and published a biography on Sri Lanka’s leading natural history artist Gamini Ratnavira. Asoka Yapa wrote a clinical textbook on Sri Lanka’s venomous snakes and assisted Animal Venom Research International to seek a polyvalent anti-venom for Sri Lanka. He is the editor of “Taprobanica”; a scientific journal that deals with the fauna of South and Southeast Asia. He has contributed to articles such as “Asian Geographic” and “Hi” magazine on the subject of snakebite in Sri Lanka.

In addition to his zoological interests, Asoka Yapa has served as the President of the Sri Lanka-Canada Association of Ottawa in 1983-1984. He was also the Chairperson, Project Peace for a United Sri Lanka and served as a panelist on Sri Lankan issues on TV Ontario-a public service TV channel. Among his other interests are writing, international politics, travel, cricket and music, especially high fidelity stereophony.

Now retired, Asoka Yapa and his wife Fiona Christie, an archeologist live in Ontario, Canada and spend long vacations in Sri Lanka.