Nilanga Jayasinghe is a manager on the Wildlife Conservation team at WWF and focuses on Asian species, particularly elephants, rhinos, tigers, and snow leopards. She has nearly 20 years of extensive experience in international species conservation and has worked on conservation issues across the board in Asia, Africa, and North America. Her areas of expertise include human-wildlife conflict management, Asian elephants, strategic planning, connectivity conservation, protected area management, and capacity building, among others. Nilanga is the WWF Network’s Focal Point on Asian Elephants and co-lead of the WWF Network’s human-wildlife conflict working group. She is also a member of the Asian Elephant Specialist Group (AsESG), the Asian Rhino Specialist Group (AsRSG), and the Pangolin Specialist Group under the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the Species Survival Commission (SSC), and a member of the Connectivity Conservation Specialist Group under the IUCN’s World Commission on Protected Areas.
In her role, Nilanga works with WWF field teams and partners in more than 15 countries in Asia to further conservation efforts on the ground for WWF’s priority flagship species. She provides technical support for species conservation, manages numerous projects with field teams, and mobilizes resources to accomplish conservation activities. In addition, she works with global partners to develop and implement initiatives that harmonize species conservation with broader conservation goals.
Prior to WWF, Nilanga gained experience in both terrestrial and marine conservation issues through her work with Defenders of Wildlife and Oceana. She developed expertise in human-wildlife conflict management during her time at Defenders of Wildlife where she worked on coexistence issues pertaining to North American species, as well as through her volunteer work with Ewaso Lions, a lion conservation organization based in northern Kenya that addresses human-carnivore conflict through research and community engagement. In addition, Nilanga was also part of the 2007/2008 class of the Emerging Wildlife Conservation Leaders program through which she had the opportunity to engage in okapi conservation in the Democratic Republic of Congo. She holds a Bachelor’s degree from Whittier College and a Master’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley.