Management from The Wild – 101 Lessons Learnt, authored by Wilfred Sarath Eranga Perera, was launched on 9 January at the One Galle Face mall, amongst renowned personalities.
Sarath Perera is currently a global marketer and lecturer, with a passion for wildlife. He began travelling and researching wildlife back in 2016, when he embarked on an adventure to Kenya, and visited Maasai Mara, Lake Nakuru, Aberdare National Park, and many more famous tourist locations.
When one thinks of Kenya, the first thing that comes to mind is that it’s a country with very warm weather. Perera enlightened us that it’s quite the contrary. “It’s freezing cold in the mornings; the temperature is so low that even brushing your teeth or washing your face in the morning is a hard task because of how cold the water is.” It’s facts like these that Perera wants to highlight in his book.
After his travels in Kenya with his cousin and friend, travelling to see wildlife became a yearly tradition amongst them. The following year, he set off to see the famous tiger known as the Queen of Ranthambore, in India, and the next year, to visit the black panther, also in India. Right before the pandemic hit, they went to Nepal to witness the one-horned rhinoceros.
He added that they planned on visiting the snow leopard, but sadly had to cancel plans due to the ongoing pandemic. Aside from these, he has also journeyed far and wide on travel expeditions by himself, and stocked up wisdom on the subject.
Talking about why travelling in Sri Lanka is important, he commented: “It opens your mind up. Like the example I mentioned about Kenya, there is a lack of education on many factors regarding travel both in Sri Lanka and abroad.”
“When one travels locally or globally, one begins to view the world from a different perspective and your understanding of the world also heightens; your mind is bound to expand. The pandemic has confined all of us to our homes, there is no learning curve anymore. It’s all assumption and what you hear, which is why travel is so important.”
The book, Management from The Wild – 101 Lessons Learnt, is brimming with experience worth half a decade of travel. He hopes that his readers will learn from his mistakes and also gain knowledge on certain aspects of travel. From the very first day of his expeditions, there have been interesting stories to tell and many lessons learnt, and that is what spurred him on to start writing.
He describes his book as a very easy read, and one that will take the reader a maximum of two to three hours to complete. “I have had Alyssa Caron, an astronaut-in-training, comment that the book had valuable life lessons to use, and even Zara Easton, Brand Marketer at LinkedIn, commented that it was a very gripping read.”
The book is sure to have you engrossed and well educated on a wide range of topics in travel. Once done, you’re bound to pick it up again – that’s how compelling Perera’s stories are.
Tales in the wild
Perera shared a thrilling experience with us about a time he was almost attacked by a rhinoceros, when he and the people accompanying him immediately jumped into the four crisis responses: flight, freeze, follow, and flight.
“All four of these responses happened simultaneously.” Explaining the story, he informed us that he had a ranger right behind him, who told them to stay in a single unit in case of an attack. “Suddenly, we found ourselves in front of an angry rhino; my cousin started running, but tripped and fell!” he exclaimed, continuing: “I was terrified; I spotted the biggest tree and ran to hide behind it. My friend just froze on the spot, and the rangers chose to fight.”
He concluded that in that situation, no one would know what to do, and that’s what he chooses to show in his book.
His book has already been globally acclaimed as the world’s first wildlife travel management book. Perera shared his thoughts on the matter, “It’s being shared across multiple countries. I’m trying to get it out as much as possible for two reasons; Sri Lanka, as a country has not portrayed the wildlife we have.” He added that during his travels, he’s met many foreigners that are stunned that Sri Lanka has animals like whales and tigers, as most people think the country is solely about elephants. “Our marketing of tourism has failed. My book has already reached people in the US, UK, Australia, and many other countries. I want to show that a publication has already gone global from Sri Lanka.”
He shared that through his writing, he wants the world to realise that Sri Lanka is a fantastic tourist destination filled with biodiversity and exciting travels.
He also highlighted the importance of conservation. “My main topic for 2021 is conservation,” he stated, continuing that he aims to create dialogue so it becomes a topic that is openly discussed.
He noted that, going by the manner in which Sri Lanka is deforesting, in the next ten years it is likely that we may suffer from a lack of water. “The only way to prevent this is to create awareness and build platforms.”
The importance of conservation
At the press conference for his book launch, Perera’s main goal was to create a platform for the topic of conservation. He hosted three sessions, one by the first South Asian Disney princess Melody Perera, who did a lesson on the diversity and conservation that she learned while at Disney. The next was by Wildlife Conservation Society of Galle President Madura de Silva, who also touched on the topic of conservation, followed by Jetwing Vil Uyana Assistant Manager and Environmentalist Chaminda Jayasekara, who spoke on nocturnal wildlife in Sri Lanka.
There is much that Perera hopes to accomplish with his book. “If you read the book and feel the desire to travel, then that’s exactly what I want to achieve.” He further noted that, at this time especially, travel is great for the economy. “If you go to Yala or Wilpattu, you’ll find small shops by the side of the road that you can contribute to by purchasing little knick-knacks, and help make their livelihood better.”
He added that although there are no tourists visiting the country, that doesn’t mean we can’t help the economy; it’s up to us to work for the betterment of our country. All his goals are interlinked, he explained; once people begin travelling, they will see these majestic animals and want to help conserve their lands and lives, thus improving the economy. It’s safe to say that he is on the road to achieving this with the success of his book.
Photos © Wilfred Sarath Eranga Perera