Herb Raffaele, EFC 1963 Puerto Rico, has more than five decades of experience in international wildlife conservation. He has led global efforts to conserve endangered species such as tigers, elephants and gorillas, and much more.

We interviewed him about his latest book, Revoyage of the Mayflower, where he shares the conservation successes and failures he has noted in his long career. The compelling message of Revoyage is that community values are what determine the success or failure of conservation efforts. “We’re social animals. In the course of writing the book, I read a huge amount about the psychology of the human mind and how we make decisions — our values guide everything; absolutely everything.”

Herb puts forth a framework for developing a democratic process where communities of all kinds can find out what their values are and put them into practice to conserve our environment and animals that are threatened.

Revoyage provides the provocative allegory of having the Mayflower arrive in the New World without the Pilgrims aboard — but rather with Hindus, because of a powerful cultural value that sets them apart from the Pilgrims: reverence for all living things. He notes that this is a respect not unlike that of the Native Americans subjugated and murdered by the first European settlers and their descendants in what is now the United States.

We asked Herb why he chose India as an alternative colonizing country, rather than comparing what the results for wildlife and the environment might have been if the Pilgrims had not arrived but the land left in the care of the Indigenous peoples living in North America. Herb replied:

My point in using India rather than Indigenous people of North America was that India offered a combination of four factors unmatched by any other nation: (1) dependence upon agriculture;* (2) an extraordinarily dense human population; (3) limited space; and (4) possessing extraordinarily dangerous wildlife. This combination of factors makes India’s conservation achievements all the more striking.”

*There is also a long tradition of sustainable agriculture and/or agroforestry in many Indigenous communities.

Herb responds to our other questions and shares his passion for conserving threatened species and habitat, giving lively examples of successes and failures in conservation in these videos.

Takeaway in a Nutshell (0:49)

A Deeper Look at Why Community Values Are Vital to Wildlife Conservation (7:24)

A Tale of Two Endangered Species: The Saint Lucia Parrot and the Right Whale (6:22)

Do Your State and Federal Wildlife Agencies Represent your Interests? (5:36)

Conserving Sea Turtle Eggs in Mexico: A Story about Differing Cultural Values (2:53)

An Inspiring Story of Working with Stakeholders in Mexico (6:00)

Expanding our View on What We Are Willing to Sacrifice to Conserve Wildlife and Habitat (3:04)

A Story about Transformed Values: Deep River, CT (3:23)

Click here for Herb’s alum story.

How can we purchase your book, Herb? The book (also available in kindle edition) can be easily purchased on Amazon. For individuals who do not like Amazon, they can contact me at and I can mail them a copy.