Laura Lizbeth Jaimes Rodríguez
Mammalian Specialist
Laura obtained her undergraduate degree in Biology from the Universidad Industrial de Santander. She did a specialization in International Wildlife Conservation in WildCRU, University of Oxford, where she explored the interaction between four Colombian mesocarnivores using co-occupancy models. More recently, she has completed an MSc in Conservation and Rural Development at the University of Kent, where she studied the factors associated with livestock depredation by jaguars and pumas in a region of the Magdalena middle. She began her work as a consultant in WCS Colombia as part of a species monitoring program, and later in gathering information on negative interactions with felines within different WCS projects. Currently, she is part of WCS and her main activities are the study of the large mammal species ecology, study and promote coexistence with predatory species in agricultural landscapes that benefit both, wildlife and rural communities.
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.
Luis Felipe Salazar Arcila
Technical Specialist
Felipe is an environmental engineer from Universidad Distrital Francisco José de Caldas (Bogotá D.C.) and holds a master's degree in Sustainable Development from Universidad del Valle (Cali). He joined WCS at the end of 2017 as a consultant in Geographic Information Systems - GIS, providing support to land cover interpretation projects, prioritization of areas for the allocation of compensation actions and processes of administration and declaration of protected areas, among others. She currently supports planning and decision making in the line of Sustainable Landscapes. Her main research interests are geographic analysis, interdisciplinary work with local communities, wetland ecosystems, environmental history and socio-ecological systems.
Luisa Rincón Bustamante
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.
Manuel Andrés Rodríguez Rocha
Conservation areas leader
Manuel is a biologist from the Universidad de Los Andes in Colombia, with more than 10 years of experience in research and monitoring within the framework of the conservation areas. He has an academic master's degree in Management and Conservation of Tropical Forests and Biodiversity (CATIE) evaluating the "Potential responses of fruit bats to climate change, in conservation areas in an altitude gradient of the Caribbean of Costa Rica." His professional interest has focused on the use of information in the management of socio-ecological systems. He is currently Leader of Conservation Areas at WCS Colombia, supporting processes to expand conservation areas and the implementation of the SMART (spatial monitoring and reporting tool) to strengthen the management of research data. and monitoring in the National System of Protected Areas.
Mara Contreras
Protected new areas coordinator
Mara is a biologist with an MSc in Environmental Sustainability Management. She has 16 years of experience working in protected areas. She currently supports, scientifically, the implementation of the route for declaration of new prioritized protected areas in Colombia.
Maria Antonia Espitia
Magdalena local leader
María Antonia is a psychologist. She joined WCS in 2014 as coordinator of the Wildlife Project in the Magdalena Medio region. She has led the development of participatory, organizational, educational, investigative, deliberative and environmental territorial planning practices within rural communities, with the purpose of enabling them to act as managers of their own initiatives. With her work, María Antonia mainly strives to strengthen the healthy coexistence between man and nature.

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