Ravi Corea



United States

Whitley Awards,

Ravi Corea founded the Sri Lanka Wildlife Conservation Society (SLWCS) in 1995 to establish a new paradigm for sustainable conservation that balances ecosystem protection and economic development within his native country of Sri Lanka. His innovative Saving Elephants by Helping People (SEHP) Project was initiated in 1997 and represents one of the best-known, community-based efforts to mitigate human-elephant conflict in Sri Lanka. Since its inception, SEHP has evolved to integrate ecological research, applied conservation, community participation, community development, and sustainable economic development. His innovative Field Scouts Program (FSP) is Sri Lanka’s first community-based elephant ecological research project and an essential component in the sustainable conservation model practiced by SLWCS. Ravi also pioneered Project Orange Elephant, an innovative project to develop an agriculture-based solution to conflicts with elephants where farmers’ fields abut elephant habitat. These projects are ongoing today. Ravi’s focus is in developing practical initiatives that ensure the long-term conservation of Sri Lanka’s endangered Asian elephant population while concurrently ensuring the economic wellbeing of the rural poor affected by elephant depredations. He believes grass-roots change within communities that is participatory and self-imposed (rather than externally-driven) is more likely to be sustainable over time, benefitting people, elephants and natural resource systems. Ravi’s work through SLWCS has been widely recognized and has earned the praise of notable national and international bodies, including: Most Innovative Development Project; Global Development Network, 2015 American Chamber of Commerce in Sri Lanka, 2011: “Charity of the Year” National Science Foundation of Sri Lanka, 2010 Google.org Geo Challenge Grant Award, 2009 UNDP Equator Initiative Prize Winner, 2008 For the past fifteen years, Ravi has been integrating responsible travel initiatives and volunteer programming with SLWCS’ field-based research, education, and hands-on conservation work, bringing people to Sri Lanka from all around the world to participate in and support his organization’s many projects.