Staff

Lucas Buitrago Garzón
Researcher
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.
LUISA MARIA RINCON 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.
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.
Mónica Lozano Hernández
Financial Manager
Paola Andrea Mejía
Marine Leader
Biologist and Doctor in Sciences-Biology from the Universidad del Valle, Colombia. Marine leader of WCS Colombia since 2017. She has been supporting processes for the declaration and management of marine protected areas, as well as strategic planning processes based on community participation and adaptive management, as mechanisms to direct and execute actions towards the sustainability of the resources and their ecosystem services. She has experience in population assessments of fishery resources, based on both life history and demographics and poor data, aiming to contribute to the management of those resources of economic importance and food security of coastal communities.
Sebastian Orjuela
Local conservation strategies specialist
Biologist from the Universidad del Valle and Master in Environmental Engineering from the Universidad Nacional, with more than 6 years of experience in the planning and declaration of protected areas within the framework of the Departmental System of Protected Areas of Valle del Cauca (SIDAP), promotion and Registry of Natural Reserves of Civil Society, work with rural communities in the concert and generation of conservation agreements, participatory property planning and reconversion of productive systems. I am currently part of the WCS team as a Local Conservation Strategies Specialist.
Silvia Juliana Alvarez
Sustainable Landscapes Coordinator
Silvia is a biologist from the Universidad Nacional de Colombia. She has a master’s degree in Biodiversity and Ecology from the University of Göttingen in Germany, where she studied fruit selection by titi monkeys (Callicebus lugens) in the Colombian Amazon. She worked as a lecturer and research scientist at the Universidad de Pamplona. For her PhD in Biological Sciences at the University of Maryland, she studied the relationship between movement ecology and group dynamics in mammals. Her main research interest is understanding the distribution patterns and spatial ecology and behavior of species and communities, and their responses to changes resulting from human activities. Her work at WCS focuses on the generation of information and tools to support planning and decision-making processes that promote the development of sustainable landscapes.
William Bonell
Wildlife Specialist
William has a degree in Biology from the Universidad Distrital Francisco José de Caldas (Bogotá) and has been part of the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) - Colombia since 2011. Because of his great interest in field research, he has supported the development of ecology and conservation projects with populations of primates and medium and large mammals. Also, he has participated in monitoring activities of species that are the object of study for WCS and he has coordinated biodiversity inventories in different processes in the axes of species and areas for conservation where he has supported the implementation of the declaratory route for some new protected areas in Colombia.

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