Insee Cement rescues animals in Aruakalu quarry for 9th year

Every year for the past nine years, Insee Cement has been rescuing and carefully relocating all species of fauna at the company’s Aruakalu quarry, Puttalam in the North Western Province.

This animal rescue operation is conducted in partnership with the International Union of the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

The process of detecting the slow moving animals, that require protection and relocating them in habitats where they would be comfortable is a major endeavour carried out by Insee Cement in a dedicated effort to ensure that the company’s business operation does not endanger the vulnerable fauna that live in the vicinity of the quarry.

The endeavour is Insee Cement’s important commitment to conservation and is a vital part of the group’s sustainability strategy. The initiative forms an integral part of the triple bottom line approach of safeguarding people, planet and profits adding great value to the business of manufacturing and marketing cement to build a prosperous future for the nation. Protecting the biodiversity in the quarry as an on-going practice demonstrates the group’s focus on responsible quarrying.
The initiative brings together an increasing number of volunteers and this year, Insee Cement recorded that over 2000 animals were rescued, adding value to the ‘green’ corporate culture the company maintains. The endeavour has rescued and relocated over 12,300 species of slow moving animals over the past years.
In addition to rescuing animals, this year Insee Cement initiated saving vulnerable plants as well. Saplings of important, endemic plant species were retrieved from the site and deposited in a plant nursery until they are ready to be restored to a forest next year. Over 3000 plant saplings which are endemic, threatened or ecologically important were Identified for relocating this year.

Insee Cement’s partner in this initiative, IUCN is the world’s oldest and largest global environmental organisation and a leading authority on sustainable development. Their expertise has added great value to Insee Cement’s animal rescue operation contributing to its operation from end to end with excellent results. From monitoring the fauna at potential quarry sites, the rescue and release of the animals and post-mining refilling of the quarry for reforestation and finally monitoring the rehabilitation of the animals are the four key biodiversity areas that require IUCN expertise and assistance.

IUCN Programme Coordinator Shamen Vidanage commenting on the outcome of this mammoth exercise to safeguard the planet’s species said: “Insee Cement has made a dedicated commitment to safeguard the animals in the quarry and their passion and enthusiasm for this project is most commendable. We look forward to continuing this worthy endeavour into the future in partnership with Insee Cement.”

Insee Cement Sustainable Development and Communications Director Farzana Khan said: “We are indeed indebted to IUCN for their sincere support to ensure the precious biodiversity at the Aruakalu quarry receive the care and concern required to re-locate and safeguard all the species in the area. We have been in partnership with IUCN for nearly a decade and greatly appreciate their expertise. They are indeed an inspiration for all those who are concerned about the future of our planet.”
Insee Cement now adopts a scientific approach to safeguarding the biodiversity in the Aruakalu quarry. Excavated soil layers are repacked into the quarry pits systematically maintaining a pre-recorded soil profile. Once quarries are repacked with the final top soil, new saplings from a variety of plant species are annually planted so that the nutrients in the soil are retained and the topsoil is enriched to support the growth of plants. When the density of plants increases, the rescued fauna begins to thrive and the natural environment in the quarry can be gradually restored.