Dr Enoka P. Kudavidanage graduated from the Department of Zoology, University of Colombo with a BSc honours degree in Zoology and MSc in Environmental Sciences. Enoka’s earliest professional experience is as a freelance environmental journalist, where she interacted with conservation professionals, scientists, grassroots level activists and local communities acquiring a broader outlook to the biodiversity conservation goals. She joined Sabaragamuwa University in 2001 as a junior lecturer in Biodiversity. The university at that time located in a rural area, allowed her to work, with communities severely affected by poverty, natural resource limitations, socio-economic issues and human animal conflicts, and with decision makers struggling to conserve protected areas with the limited available resources amidst the pressure from the community.
She completed her PhD in Conservation Biology at the Department of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore during 2006-2011 as a NUS scholar, under the supervision of Prof. Edward Webb and (late) Prof. Navjot Sodhi. While at NUS, she worked as a teaching assistant and was also active as a RMBR volunteer (Toddy cat). Her PhD research completed in 2011 was conducted in the lowland wet zone of Sri Lanka on the impact of land use change on the biodiversity and ecosystem functioning. Through the same research she revised and validated dung beetle fauna of Sri Lanka as a suitable indicator taxon to monitor land use change in Sri Lanka.
Currently, she is a Senior lecturer in Ecology and Conservation Biology at the Department of Natural Resources, Sabaragamuwa University of Sri Lanka where she contributes to producing professionals in natural resource management. She works with various governmental and non-governmental organizations research institutes, scientific bodies and NGOs to bridge the gap between the scientists, decision makers and the community. She has several publications in her chosen area of studies.
She is a task force member of the Biodiversity unit, National REDD + program of Sri Lanka and the University representative of the academic task force for the Minister of Sustainable development and Wildlife. While focusing on strengthening the existing protected area management, she is much interested in conservation beyond protected areas, where it is necessary to strike a balance between sustainable use of land by the community and maintaining healthy ecosystem processes. Her most recent research includes a study on wildlife crimes, a population assessment and conservation of montane leopards and a status assessment of the wildlife National park system.
She founded the Topical Ecosystem Research Network (TERN), a non-profit NGO in order to facilitate her conservation work and networking. Enoka is the country coordinator for the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation. Through TERN she functions as a Knowledge management and capacity building expert for UN GEF small grants programme and the UN REDD CBR+ programmes in Sri Lanka.