Patricia Medici Ph.D.

MSc in Ecology, Conservation and Wildlife Management, PhD in Biodiversity Management

Patricia Medici is a Brazilian conservationist whose main professional interests are tapir conservation, tropical forest conservation, landscape ecology, and communication. Patricia has a bachelor’s degree in forestry from the University of São Paulo (USP – Universidade de São Paulo), a master’s degree in Ecology, Conservation and Wildlife Management from the Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG – Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais) Brazil, and a PhD in Biodiversity Management from the Durrell Institute for Conservation and Ecology (DICE), University of Kent, UK.

For the last 28 years, Patricia has been working for a Brazilian non-governmental organization called IPÊ – Instituto de Pesquisas Ecológica (Ecological Research Institute) of which she was one of the members founders. Since 1996, Patricia coordinates the Lowland Tapir Conservation Initiative (LTCI) and dedicates her life to the conservation of tapirs and their habitats in Brazil. Since 2000, Patricia has been chair of the IUCN SSC Tapir Specialist Group (TSG), a network of more than 130 tapir conservationists from 27 different countries around the world.

Patricia has been a TED Fellow since 2014 and a National Geographic Explorer since 2019. She has been the recipient of several highly prestigious conservation awards: Harry Messel Conservation Leadership Award from the International Union for Conservation of Nature in 2004; Future for Nature Award from the Future for Nature Foundation in the Netherlands in 2008; Whitley Prize from the Whitley Fund for Nature in the UK also in 2008; 2017 Columbus Zoo Conservation Commitment Award; William G. Conway International Conservation Award in 2018; National Geographic Society / Buffett Award for Leadership in Conservation in 2019; and the Whitley Gold Award from the Whitley Fund for Nature in the UK in 2020.

Phones: 55-67-3027-4092 (oficina); +55-67-9-9965-6960 (celular)



Instagram: @INCAB_BRASIL.


Sergio Sandoval-Arenas BSc

Biologist (BSc) from the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, Bogotá, Colombia

Sergio Sandoval-Arenas BSc is a biologist from the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana Bogotá, 2000. Member of the IUCN Tapir Specialist Group (TSG) since 2001. Co-founder of Grupo Red Danta. Director of the first international project for the conservation of the mountain tapir in Colombia, led by the Cali Zoo, Los Angeles Zoo and Puracé National Natural Park between 2003 and 2005. In that same period, he participated in the design of the action plans of the tapirs of Colombia and the IUCN mountain tapir action plan. Vice President of the Tapir Preservation Fund, USA, between 2006 and 2016, from where he participated in several research and conservation projects around tapirs in Colombia and promoted, together with Sheryl Todd, the work of young researchers interested in the conservation of the four tapir species, through a seed fund program. He is currently the general director of the Mountain Tapir Forever project, which has the support and participation of the Alto Magdalena Regional Autonomous Corporation (CAM), Puracé National Natural Park, Los Angeles Zoo, USA, Merenberg Foundation, Neotropical Foundation, Association Footprints of the Massif and the University of Cambridge, UK. The Mountain Tapir Forever project focuses on the establishment of the first natural sanctuary for the conservation of the mountain tapir in Colombia.

For more information about the Mountain Tapir Forever project

Phone: (+1) 3102391620

José F. González-Maya Ph.D.

Biologist, MSc in Conservation, PhD in Ecology

José is the scientific director of ProCAT Colombia and ProCAT International. His interests are focused on the ecology and conservation of terrestrial vertebrates, mainly medium and large mammals, as a basis for decision-making and the formulation of public conservation policies at multiple scales. At the research level, it focuses on aspects of macroecology, population ecology and functional ecology, but considers natural history as a fundamental element to understand the ecological processes necessary for the effective conservation of biodiversity. José has a bachelor’s degree (BSc) in biological sciences from the Universidad Latina de Costa Rica, a Magister Scientae in Management and Conservation of Tropical Forests and Biodiversity from the Tropical Agronomic Research and Teaching Center – CATIE (Costa Rica) and a Doctor of Science from the Institute of Ecology from the National Autonomous University of Mexico. He has received the William T. Hornaday and Oliver P. Pearson awards from the American Society of Mammalogists, the Future for Nature Award (Holland) and the Jorge Ignacio «El Mono» Hernández Award for the Conservation of Mammals from the Colombian Society of Mammalogists.

Phone: (+1) 651 444 0453

Juliana Vélez Ph.D. (e)

Biologist, Master of Biological Sciences, PhD student at the University of Minnesota

Juliana Vélez is a biologist from the Universidad de los Andes, with a Master’s Degree in Biological Sciences from the Universidad Nacional de Colombia. During his master’s degree he worked in the Laboratory of Landscape Ecology and Ecosystem Modeling, where he studied the influence of food availability on the diet and habitat use of the lowland tapir ( Tapirus terrestris ) in the Colombian Amazon. Currently, she is a Fulbright Scholar and PhD student in Dr. John Fieberg’s laboratory at the University of Minnesota. His doctoral project is focused on improving wildlife management in multifunctional landscapes (e.g., cattle ranches with remnants of native forest), and reducing anthropogenic threats to lowland tapir in the Colombian Orinoquía. It will collect data from satellite telemetry and camera traps, to analyze patterns of movement and habitat use of the tapir and understand its response to different land management conditions. This information will be used to better understand species adaptations in multifunctional landscapes and to predict possible responses of animals to future changes in environmental conditions.

Juliana has worked with Conservation International (CI), on conservation projects with indigenous communities and has worked on different environmental education initiatives. Likewise, it has been recognized with the Russell E. Train – Education for Nature research grants from the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the Intersdiciplinary Center for the Study of Global Change (ICGC) and the Provost’s Graduate Student Fund award, granted to the best applications in graduate programs at the University of Minnesota. Juliana also participated in the Tapir Specialist Group Fellowship Program, led by Dr. Patricia Medici, where she had the opportunity to learn from more than 20 years of experience in tapir conservation, within the framework of the Lowland Tapir Conservation Initiative in Brazil. Juliana’s main objective is to unite her academic experience and her work with rural communities and decision makers, to develop management strategies that improve habitat conditions for wildlife. At the end of his doctorate, he plans to return to Colombia to continue his long-term conservation project, where he will seek to bridge the gap between productive activities, ecology and conservation.

Ángela Alviz, Ph.D. (e)

Biologist, PhD student in Natural Ecosystem Management

Angela is a Biologist Mastozoologist, M.Sc. in Biological Sciences (emphasis on Ecology and Conservation of Tropical Ecosystems) from the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana (PUJ Colombia) and a doctoral student in Natural Ecosystem Management (Ph.D.) at Texas Tech University (United States). </ p>

During his academic career, he has conducted research in the ecology of populations and communities of Neotropical bats, as well as medium and large mammals in the Caribbean and the Colombian Orinoquia. She is currently part of the Orinoquía Biodiversa Foundation where she works as scientific deputy director, leading research and conservation projects of threatened species such as the lowland tapir ( Tapirus terrestris ), the giant otter ( Pteronura brasiliensis ), the jaguar ( Panthera onca ), and the Andean bear ( Tremarctos ornatus ).

Since 2015, his work has focused on the formulation and leadership of projects focused on the conservation of tapirs in the Colombian Orinoquía, among which the generation of the Conservation Plan stands out. for the species in the Orinoquía and the establishment of a biological corridor in the Bita river basin (Vichada, Colombia), under the framework of the Wildlife Project led by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS).

These projects have made it possible to expand knowledge about the species in Colombia, especially in the Orinoquía, understanding its distribution, habitat use and occurrence in highly changing landscapes in climatic and anthropogenic terms. Due to these contributions, Angela has been part of the IUCN SSC Tapir Specialist Group since 2017 and continues to work for tapir conservation through her doctoral studies at Texas Tech.


Phone: (+57) 3202818712 

Diego J. Lizcano Ph.D.

Biologist, PhD in Ecology and Conservation

Diego works as a biodiversity specialist for the North and South Andes of Central America (NASCA) office of The Nature Conservancy (TNC). He is a biologist with a special interest in wildlife and mammalian ecology. Her interests revolve around issues involving wildlife conservation and using ecological and field data to make informed decisions to conserve biodiversity. More recently he has been working on Biodiversity monitoring using radio telemetry tools, bio-acoustics and occupancy models with camera trap data using Bayesian statistical models. Diego is a biologist at the Universidad de los Andes in Bogota and received his PhD in ecology and conservation from the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology (DICE) at the University of Kent at Canterbury (UK). Before working at TNC Diego was a Researcher at ULEAM University in Ecuador, directing a vertebrate monitoring project in two protected areas of the Ecuadorian coast and also a visiting scientist at Conservation International (Arlington, VA, USA) in the initiative of the network of TEAM monitoring, analyzing the terrestrial vertebrate data set. Diego was also a teacher and researcher at the University of Pamplona in Norte de Santander where he taught ecology and evolution. Diego is passionate about mountain tapirs, photography and baking bread at home.

Phone: (+57) 3178694337

Sergio Escobar.Lasso M. Sc.

Biologist, Magister in Wildlife Conservation and Management

Sergio Escobar Lasso is a professional in biology from the University of Caldas, he has a master’s degree in “Conservation and Management of Wildlife” at the International Institute of Conservation and Management of Wildlife ( ICOMVIS) of the National University of Costa Rica. Sergio Escobar-Lasso has 12 years of research experience on the conservation, behavior and natural history of wildlife. His research has been carried out mainly in Colombia, Costa Rica and Mexico and he is the author of 37 scientific manuscripts (which can be viewed and downloaded freely and for free on his website ( ). He is currently the director of the Colombian Tapir Conservation initiative, under the group of specialists tapirs of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).