Ivan Mauricio Vela
Big Mammal Leader
Mauricio completed his bachelor degree in biology and his masters in Biological Sciences from the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana in Bogotá. Currently Mauricio is PhD Candidate from the University of Arizona in Wildlife Management and Conservation. Mauricio has worked in mammalian ecology and reproductive biology in agricultural landscapes and protected areas in Colombia. His experience is focused on the effect of agricultural landscapes in species, community ecology and spatial ecology of Carnivores in the tropics besides seeking strategies to improve landscape planning and conservation. Mauricio has published several papers in national and international journals and book chapters as well edited books of carnivores ecology in Colombia and is part of the IUCN Small Carnivore Specialist Group. Mauricio is the Big Mammals Leader in WCS coordinating and leading the partnership Conservamos la Vida in Colombia, a project that aim to maintain habitat and populations of Andean bear in Colombia.
Johana Torres
Program Manager
Johanna is a Business Administrator from the Universidad Libre de Cali. She attended a certification course in Management Skills and Human Talent Management. She joined Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) - Colombia in February 2015. She is currently project manager in the protected area management field. She has professional experience in the review and preparation of reports, as well as in the technical, administrative, financial and logistic support related with banking institutions.
Johanna Gutierrez
Program manager
Johanna is an Environmental Administrator from the Universidad Distrital and specialist in Environmental Planning and Integral Natural Resources Management from the Universidad Militar. She is currently studying for an MSc in Sustainable Development Projects. She has professional experience in coordination and monitoring of public and private programs and projects, as well as in their technical, administrative, financial and logistic support. She has, additionally, participated in institutional management processes and in the preparation of environmental management plans for offshore research projects in the hydrocarbons sector. She worked for several years with a Colombian Government office in the generation of knowledge in the fishing sector and has been connected to other public and private institutions developing environmental management and consultancy issues.
Jorge Parra
Protected Areas Coordinator
Jorge joined Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) - Colombia in May, 2013. He currently coordinates the Protected Areas division. He is a Behavioral Ecologist and a Conservation Biologist with more than 10 years of experience working in conservation projects and research studies. He obtained his BSc and MSc in Biology from Universidad de los Andes, where he studied the social behavior of some species of birds living in the Colombian Andes, Orinoquía and Amazonia. Jorge received his PhD in Behavioral Ecology and Conservation Biology from the University of Bath in the United Kingdom, where he investigated the evolution of reproductive strategies (mating and parental care behaviors) in three closely related shorebird species of the genus Charadrius sp. from Madagascar. Jorge is a member of the Conservation Leadership Programme (CLP), a partnership between Wildlife Conservation Society, Fauna & Flora International and BirdLife International, with the Chicamocha project.
José Mauricio Salcedo Cabrales
José Mauricio Salcedo Cabrales serves as Consultant at WCS.
Leonor Valenzuela
Analysis and synthesis coordinator
Leonor joined Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) - Colombia in March, 2014. She is currently Analysis and Synthesis Coordinator and leads the monitoring team that works in the conservation of landscape species and their habitat and the tracking of conservation activity, compensations and decision-making, under an adaptive management framework. Leonor is a Biologist from the Universidad del Valle, where she worked with bat systematics. She obtained an MSc and a PhD in Ecology from the Universidad Católica de Chile. There she worked with biodiversity patterns of mammals in insular systems at island and archipelago level, focusing on the effect of the spatial arrangement of the islands and the implications of body size on colonization and extinction rates. Her main interests focus on the macroecology discipline, understood as the search for general principles that explain diversity, in order to apply the results to the conservation of biodiversity and, in particular, to the analysis of the conservation status of animal species.
Lina Caro
Protected areas management coordinator
Lina is a biologist from the Universidad de Los Andes, where she investigated the reproductive success of the tropical mockingbird (Mimus gilvus) and its relationship with singing. In 2008, she studied for an MSc in Ecology and Evolution at Universidad de Los Andes. Her thesis focused on the speciation patterns of the grey-breasted wood-wren (Henicorhina leucophrys) associated with elevation, in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. In 2013, Lina studied for an MPhil in Conservation Leadership at the University of Cambridge, where she designed a conservation strategy based on tourism for the Ometepe Island Biosphere Reserve, Nicaragua. She is currently part of WCS’ monitoring team where she works with the conservation of landscape species and their habitat, the tracking of conservation activity (i.e. reforestation, biological corridors, work with communities), compensations and decision-making.
Lucas Buitrago Garzón
Lucas is a Political Analyst from Universidad del Rosario, Colombia and MSc in Public Policy from Universidad de los Andes, Colombia. He works with WCS since 2015, focusing on ecological compensation projects, conservation sustainability, tools for the application of environmental public policy and environmental economics.
Big mammal specialist
Biologist from the University of Quindío, with five years of experience in the study, monitoring and management of the Andean bear. Luisa is in charge of supporting the technical coordination of the field work and the management actions of the Conservamos la Vida project developed in the Central and Western mountain ranges of Colombia.
Luz Dary Acevedo
Wildlife Health Program/ Wildlife Trafficking
Luz Dary is a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine DVM from the Universidad del Tolima (Ibagué, Colombia). For more than 15 years, she has worked in wildlife health, management, and conservation in different zones of the country, especially in protected areas. She coordinated the Wildlife Program and generated the National Wildlife Strategy for National Parks of Colombia. Her experience Wildlife Health has been focused on the surveillance of diseases and the assessment of associated risk factors to reduce threats in different species and landscapes, including the development of conservation initiatives with peasant, indigenous, and Afro-descendant communities. She joined the WCS Colombia Program in 2012 and since then she has coordinated the Wildlife Health Program and since 2017 she has led the initiatives of the Colombia Program to reduce Wildlife trafficking, jointly with WCS countries in the Andes-Amazonia region. With the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development, she supports the implementation of the National and Binational Strategies for the prevention and control of wildlife trafficking, as well as the National conservation programs for threatened species, especially amphibians and primates.

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