Erwin graduated from Gadjah Mada University Yogyakarta, Indonesia in 2003 with a Bachelor’s in General Biology. Since then, he has spent 11 years helping rescued and confiscated animals, giving them the chance to return to the wild. One such effort was of the rehabilitation and release of an injured Javan leopard in Banten. This was the very first case of an injured leopard that was ever released back into the wild in Indonesia. He also worked as the Head Keeper at The Aspinall Foundation’s Javan Primate Rehabilitation Centre in 2012.
In 2013 he began an individual project to study the Javan leopard in several sites in West Java, supported by The Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund (MbZSCF), and also assisted the Natural Resources Conservation Agency – Ministry of Environment and Forestry with the human-leopard conflict. With Agung Kusumanto he formed a Javan Leopard Focus Group to facilitate a small research project with students and people who are concerned about the plight of the species.
He joined Sumatran Tiger Conservation Forum (Forum HarimauKita/FHK) in 2014 as a Project Coordinator and led the FHK team to accomplish the UNDP Global Environmental Finance Small Grants Project “Transforming effectiveness of Biodiversity Conservation in Sumatran Priority Landscapes”. Currently, FHK is running the second phase of this project.
Since 2016, he has focused on the rarest small cat in Asia, the Javan fishing cat. He runs a fishing cat survey in FHK with support by the MbSCF and the Fishing Cat Fund (2018). Although, results have yet to confirm the existence of the species in Java. Even so, he continues to search every habitat that is predicted to be suitable for the fishing cat.
Erwin is also aware that a small group of conservationists need support to have a greater impact on conservation – especially in Java. So, he created a public scientist movement on social media that focused on Indonesian mammals, Mamalia Indonesia. He also encourages young scientists and fresh graduate students to gather together with one vision and act for conservation through the group Tambora Muda, where he became Board Advisory.