The Bandula barb (Pethia bandula) is a point endemic species; which means that it is only found naturally at one specific location in the world – a 1.5 km stretch of stream in the wet zone of Sri Lanka.
The Bandula Barb was discovered in 1991 by Rohan Pethiyagoda. Communicating through email, the expert on fish had revealed that he first saw the Bandula Barb in an aquarium at the home of Rodney Jonklaas around 1987. Mr. Jonklass named the fish Bandula Barb because these specimen were given by Ranjith Bandula, an ornamental fish collector.
This species is classified as a nationally and globally Critically Endangered (CR), and is considered to be on the cusp of extinction. Given that this species only occurs naturally outside the protected area network of Sri Lanka, its survival lies largely in the hands of the local communities living around its range. Therefore, the engagement of local communities, and the youth of the area, in particular, is critical for its survival in the long term. The effort of the villagers to prevent the extinction of the Bandula Barb could serve as a unique conservation model to protect Sri Lanka’s biodiversity.