We are conservation leaders, scientists and educators from 7 countries who share our skills and expertise to foster the Baird’s tapir conservation across Mesoamerica.
Christopher is currently the Manager for Central America and the Tropical Andes for Rewild, where he has worked since 2015. He received his PhD in Fisheries and Wildlife with a Certificate in Animal Studies from Michigan State University. He is a researcher and conservationist who specializes in mammal conservation, protected area site security, and indigenous peoples and conservation in Latin America. Chris’ work in Latin America seeks to engage from the local to the global and to have impact at scale. Given this, his experience has spanned from working closely with indigenous communities on indigenous-led conservation and restoration programs, to collaborating with the private sector in Latin America to develop conservation platforms, to developing government level initiatives and campaigns with government institutions at UNFCCC COP.
Armando Dans (Nicaragua)
Armando was born in Bluefields, east coast of Nicaragua. He has a BSc in Agroforestry engineer from the URACCAN University, and a Post-graduate diploma in International Wildlife Conservation from WildCRU, University of Oxford. He has collaborated on research projects in the South Caribbean Autonomous Region of Nicaragua with Michigan State University and Panthera. Since 2016, he is a Conservation Scientist associated with Global Wildlife Conservation working as the field coordinator of Tapir Nicaragua Project. As a conservation practitioner, he works with local indigenous and afro-descendant territories, regional authorities and local universities to execute local actions and conserve some of the last biodiversity strongholds in the country.
Juan Mendoza (Nicaragua)
Juan was born in Bluefields, South Caribbean Coast Autonomous Region in Nicaragua. He currently works as the Field Assistant on the Nicaragua Tapir Project, and he is a collaborator for conservation projects of Global Wildlife Conservation in Nicaragua. He is and Agricultural Engineer for sustainable development. He is passionate about ecology, sustainable development and rural extension for conservation, as well as improving relationships between human-nature-community. He believes that the conservation of the Baird´s tapir and its habitat is possible through environmental education, and by converting the threats of tapirs and its habitat (e.g. people, companies, communities, etc.) into partners committed to the preservation of tapirs.
Ninon Meyer (Panama)
Ninon is French and holds a PhD in Ecology and Sustainable Development from ECOSUR, Mexico. She has been active in Panama since 2011, working in wildlife research and on conservation projects with the Ministry of Environment of Panama, the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, and Fundación Yaguará Panamá. Currently, Ninon is based in Germany for a postdoc in movement ecology. In parallel, she runs Tapir Panamá and works closely with Emberá and other indigenous people to protect the forest of Darién, one of the main stronghold for Baird’s tapirs in Mesoamerica. She is also the coordinator of the IUCN Tapir Specialist Group in Panama.
Nereyda Estrada (Honduras)
Nereyda is a biologist from Honduras. She holds a MSc in Biology from the University of Costa Rica during which she studied the ecology of large mammals. Currently, she is a professor at the School of Biology of the National Autonomous University of Honduras, where she teaches Zoology and Wildlife Management, but has previously worked for the Honduran government and Panthera. Over the last 15 years, she has worked in conservation, land planning, and wildlife research and management in Honduras. Since 2002, she is the Honduras coordinator of the IUCN Tapir Specialist Group, and has been instrumental in developing a National Action Plan for the Baird’s Tapir in Honduras.
Marcio A. Martínez (Honduras)
Marcio is a Honduran biologist with 12 years of experience working on tapirs and big cats. He is field coordinator at the Institute for Forest Conservation in the department of protected areas and wildlife, working with the indigenous and Afro-descendant people in the Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve in Honduras.
Manolo José García (Guatemala)
Manolo is a guatemalan biologist, and professor-researcher holding the position of Zoologist at the Centro de Datos para la Conservación at the Centro de Estudios Conservacionistas at San Carlos University. He is also the IUCN Tapir Specialist Group Species Coordinator for the Baird’s Tapir. Since 2006, as part of the Tapir Conservation in Guatemala Program, he has worked on conservation research projects in the Maya Biosphere Reserve including landscape ecology, tapir conservation, biological monitoring of aguadas and wildlife, and dynamics of natural forest regeneration. Manolo also developed environmental education and awareness activities with primary school students and tourism guides from rural communities surrounding tapir habitat in the Maya Biosphere Reserve.
Wilber Martinez (Belize)
Wilber is originally from Orange Walk district, Belize. He is a biologist currently pursuing a Phd degree in ecology and sustainable development at el Colegio de la Frontera Sur, Campeche, Mexico. He is a research associate and part time coordinator with the Foundation for Wildlife Conservation Belize in managing a private nature reserve, named Runaway Creek. His main interest is in large mammal’s movement patterns and ecology. The doctoral thesis is focused on the spatial ecology and conservation of the Baird’s tapir in central Belize where the Chiquibul Maya Mountains range and the Selva Maya block has their last remaining connectivity. The objective is to study their movement patterns, habitat preference and also to determine their home range.
Marina Rivero (Mexico)
Marina Rivero is a Mexican biologist who works in collaboration with the NGO Bioconciencia A.C in Mexico. She studied her BSc in the National Autonomous University of Mexico, and a MSc in El Colegio de la Frontera Sur (ECOSUR). During her academic formation, she participated in several conservation and research projects with different species such as jaguars, white lipped peccaries and bats. Marina coordinates the Tapires de la Sierra Project in the Sierra Madre de Chiapas, one of the last cloud forest remnants in Mexico. She namely seeks to understand at which extent the threats are affecting the survival of the Baird´s tapir, and in collaboration with the local communities, how to develop conservation strategies that help to diminish these threats.
Esteban Brenes-Mora (Costa Rica)
Esteban is a Costa Rican biologist who holds an MSc in Conservation and Wildlife Management from Universidad Nacional de Costa Rica (UNA). He is founder and director of Nai Conservation, a member of IUCN’s Tapir Specialist Group, and a ZSL fellow. Through his work, Esteban aims to integrate the ecological data with human dimensions to solve conservation problems and build capacity for the local community and rangers. Esteban has experience working with terrestrial vertebrate ecology and conservation, statistical modeling and lobbying for the inclusion of research outputs in conservation policy. In the last years he has conducted research and conservation action focused on Baird’s Tapir, and collaborated with researchers from Central America and Southeast Asia. His work is currently based in the highlands of the Talamanca Mountain Range in Costa Rica and expanding to other regions in the country.
Jorge Rojas (Costa Rica)
Jorge is a Costa Rican veterinary graduated in 2018 from the Universidad Nacional de Costa Rica (UNA). He is an associate researcher at the Costa Rica Wildlife Foundation (CRWF) and member of its tapir conservation interdisciplinary program Nai Conservation. He is also an associate researcher at Awá Science & Conservation, and of the Veterinary Committee, IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group (TSG). He conducted his veterinary medicine thesis-project related to fecal bacteria antibiotic resistance from free-ranging tapirs, where he obtained the honor mention Magna Cum Laude. Currently he is a PhD student at the Integrative Conservation & Forestry Resources (ICON) doctoral program at the University of Georgia (UGA). Where he is about to investigate tapirs movement ecology, and human-tapir conflict in farms from a fragmented landscape of the Tenorio-Miravalles Biological Corridor (TMBC) in Northwestern Costa Rica.