Mike Korchinsky’s first holiday to Kenya over 15 years ago launched him into a lifetime’s work to save the country’s wildlife. He saw a cycle of violence between the rangers, poachers and animals that prevented any chance for long-term, sustainable solutions for the communities at stake.
Mike founded Wildlife Works in 1997 with a simple but powerful idea: protecting endangered wildlife requires balancing the needs of the wildlife with the need for work in those rural towns. He established Rukinga Sanctuary on 80,000 acres of land in South East Kenya to prove that wildlife conservation can attract sustainable development opportunities to rural communities.
At the base of the sanctuary Mike built an eco-factory to produce casual apparel. Over the last decade, over 300 local jobs have been created from our conservation and fashion businesses, bringing countless families out of poverty and unemployment. As a result, the local wildlife has been flourishing; elephants, one of the many protected inhabitants of the sanctuary, have been coming back at a rate of 2-4% each year.
Mike is constantly traveling the world to identify areas where the Wildlife Works model can be duplicated under the REDD+ purview, a UN-supported carbon credit marketplace which channels the carbon offset proceeds from developed countries' purchases towards preventing deforestation in developing countries.
Before Wildlife Works, Mike co-founded and built one of the leading management consulting companies in the US, Axiom Management Consulting. When Mike is not visiting the threatened forests of the world, he is in Northern California spending time with his wife and their four labradoodles. He is a Canadian citizen, and holds a degree in Chemical Engineering from Birmingham University, England.