WCS Argentina Staff
Dr. Claudio Campagna
WCS Argentina Senior Conservation Fellow
Dr. Claudio Campagna is a conservation biologist with the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and Adjunct Professor at the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at UCSC. He has an MD from the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina, and a PhD in Biology from UCSC. He has been a field conservationists and animal behaviorist working with marine mammals in Patagonia, Argentina, since the 1980. He funded the Forum of NGOs for the conservation of the Patagonian Sea, and has been serving in the Steering Committees of many conservation organizations, such as the Species Survival Commission of the IUCN. Claudio envisioned and supported the creation of marine protected areas, including the first open ocean MPA, Burdwood-Namuncurá Bank. Recognizing the urgent need to promote conservation using creative communication tools, Claudio publishes widely in both the scientific and popular literature. Lately, he has been reflecting on the viability of changing the vision of the conservation movement applying concepts developed by language philosophers. He started a project with philosopher Daniel Guevara on the Language of Conservation. It bridges Biology and Ethics and is inscribed in the Center for Public Philosophy, at UCSC.
Med. Vet. Guillermo Harris
Senior Advisor for Southern Cone & Patagonia
Graduated as a veterinarian in the Buenos Aires University, is also a wildlife artist and writer. Based at the Wildlife Conservation Society’s field station at Golfo San José, on the coast of Patagonia between 1981 and 1991 writing and illustrating field guides on local wildlife. On staff with WCS since 1992, was named WCS Country Director for Argentina in 2000. Directed projects funded by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) aimed at strengthening management and wildlife conservation on the coast of Patagonia from 1993 to 2014. These projects were instrumental in the reduction of oiling of Magellanic penguins at sea and in the creation of the first marine park in Argentina, a 1,100 square kilometer coastal marine protected in the north of Golfo San Jorge, in 2009. Author of Princeton's "Guide to the birds and mammals of coastal Patagonia" and co-author of Acindar's two tome "Nueva Guía de Aves Argentinas". Harris received the Bay and Paul Biodiversity Leadership award in 2005 and WCS’s Conway Fellowship award in 2008.
M.Sc. Martin Funes
WCS Project Manager
Martín coordinates the WCS-US Fish and Wildlife Service binational project for conservation of Argentine and Chilean Patagonia. He has dedicated almost 30 years to conservation and research on carnivores, raptors, guanacos, rheas, and exotic species in Patagonia. His masters’ research at the University of Florida was on the expansion of the European rabbit in Patagonia. He worked for 20 years as a wildlife biologist for Neuquén province, and served as advisor to the Argentine Secretary of Sustainable Development and Environment from 2000-2001. A member of the IUCN South American Camelid Specialists’ Group, he helped design the national census of wild camelids and management plan for the guanaco. Within WCS, he coordinated the GEF-World Bank project to integrate business, scientific, and government sectors into conservation in Patagonia, and has assisted in conservation planning and research on and management of guanacos and exotic beavers in the Karukinka Landscape.
Dr. Martin Mendez
Southern Cone & Patagonia Program Director
Dr. Martin Mendez is Director of Southern Cone & Patagonia for WCS, with direct oversight of our country programs in Argentina, Chile and Paraguay. Throughout his career, with field experience in Latin America and Africa, he has sought to better understand natural populations to promote evidence based-decision-making in conservation. He obtained his PhD in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, together with an Advanced Graduate Certificate in Environmental Policy and a M.A in Conservation Biology, from Columbia University in New York; and his undergraduate degree in Biology at the University of Buenos Aires in Argentina. Dr. Mendez served as an Adjunct Professor at Columbia University, New York University and Fordham University in NY. He is founding member and Director of the Master’s Program in Biodiversity Conservation at the University of Buenos Aires, where he also serves as Professor teaching classes related to biodiversity conservation and management.
Patricia has a degree as Bilingual Executive Assistant from the IASE of Buenos Aires. Trained in Argentine labor law and income tax at Liceo Profesional CIMA. Her work experience is in the Personnel and Admin departments of both not-for-profit organizations as well as business in Buenos Aires. She has been Finance Manager to WCS Argentina since 2000.
M.Sc. Carina Righi
Argentina Country Director
Carina Righi is a biologist with an orientation in ecology and has a Master's degree in management and conservation of natural spaces. Carina has more than two decades of experience in multiple aspects of conservation and management of natural resources in the Argentina. She served as Coordinator of the Conservation Committee of the Latin American Association of Zoos and Aquariums, Member of the Conservation Committee of the American Association of Zoos and Aquariums and of the Conservation and Sustainability Committee of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums. She was a member of the Board of the Argentine Network of Private Natural Reserves and member of the Steering Group of the Forum for the Conservation of the Patagonian Sea and Areas of Influence. She also served as a professor at the University of Belgrano, Argentina. As a researcher, she focused on marine mammals, and specifically on commerson´s dolphins. For 11 years, Carina directed the Conservation and Research Department of the Temaiken Foundation.
Dr. Andrea Raya Rey
Andrea Raya Rey is biologist and PhD in Marine Ecology, of the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina. Andrea lives and works as a researcher at CADIC- Argentine National Research Council (Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas CONICET in Tierra del Fuego. She has been studying seabird ecology and conservation, during the last 20 years mainly in Tierra del Fuego, Beagle Channel and Staten Island, but also in other places in Patagonia, Antarctic Peninsula and the extended Patagonian Shelf. Her research has been funded by national and international agencies, including Wildlife Conservation Society as a field staff. Andrea has been carrying on a long-term monitoring on breeding, feeding and spatial ecology of seabirds in the region. Her research helps to identify hot spots and main threats in the marine ecosystem for seabirds breeding and foraging in the Southwest Atlantic Ocean and Beagle Channel. This in turn allows promoting MPAs and guidelines for better practices for seabird and ocean conservation.
Dr. Andrés Novaro
Andrés is a researcher in the Argentine National Research Council (CONICET) and has spearheaded WCS’ conservation and research in the Patagonian and Andean Steppe since 1999. He studied the effects of hunting on culpeo foxes for his PhD at the University of Florida. He has led research and conservation action related to ecological extinction of native wildlife, guanaco migrations, and predator-livestock conflict, and mentored numerous graduate and undergraduate students. He received a Whitley Fund for Nature award in 2005 for leading a WCS team working with government and oil companies to close oil roads that provided access to remote areas where wildlife had been decimated by poaching. He has been a key participant in the launching of and planning for the WCS Karukinka landscape in Chile, conservation planning for the steppe’s biodiversity, development of sustainable livestock practices, mitigation of extractive industry impacts, and strengthening of protected areas.
Dr. Esteban Frère
Esteban Frere is biologist and PhD in Marine Ecology, of the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina. Most of his postgraduate curses were done at the University of Washington, USA. He has been studying seabird ecology and conservation, as field staff of WCS, during the last 25 years at the Patagonian Coast. He was working, particularly, on penguins, cormorants, albatross and petrels. His studies were focused on coastal Patagonia closely related to management of protected areas, assessing on the design and management of protected areas at state government. He has been working not only in the Southwestern Atlantic but also in the Pacific Ocean at Chile and Peru during the last years. He is professor of the Universidad Nacional de la Patagonia Austral, Santa Cruz province and researcher of the CONICET (National Scientific Agency). During the last two years, he was coordinating the Global Seabird Programme of BirdLife International in South America.
Dr. Flavio Quintana
Dr. Flavio Quintana is one of the leading marine conservation biologists in Patagonia. He is Principal Researcher of the National Research Council for Science and Technology of Argentina (CONICET), Director of Instituto de Biología de Organismos Marinos (IBIOMAR-CONICET) and Head of the Marine Top Predators Ecology Lab. at IBIOMAR . His research has been funded by national and international agencies, including Wildlife Conservation Society and The Earthwatch Institute. Drs. Quintana's research has been mainly concerned with the pelagic and movement ecology of marine mammals and birds along the Patagonian Coast. The research has made important contributions to the scientific investigation of the ecosystem of the entire area, from the coastal headlands to the edge of the continental shelf. The research has also provided important directives on conservation of the ecosystem, which is affected by coastal and offshore human activities at sea. Dr. Quintana was also dedicated to other conservation activities through wildlife photography, theater performances and active participation in national and international wildlife documentaries in collaboration with NatGeo and BBC between others. Flavio is currently, on devote to the conservation of the Patagonian Sea, through scientific research, education, and arts.
Dr. Gabriela Scioscia
Gabriela Scioscia has a PhD in Biological Sciences graduated from the Universidad Nacional de Mar del Plata, Argentina. During her doctoral and postdoctoral formation, she has studied different aspect of trophic and reproductive ecology of Magellanic penguin and the association between the distribution and abundance of seabirds and their prey, using acoustic methods, in both sub-Antarctic and Antarctic waters. Her work has been supported by Wildlife Conservation Society and CONICET (Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas). Recently, she has been incorporated as full researcher of CONICET to assess the effect of climate and prey availability on the performance breeding and population dynamics of seabirds, such as Magellanic penguins and Imperial cormorants from Tierra del Fuego, Argentina.
Dr. Pablo Yorio
Pablo Yorio completed his Doctorate in Biological Sciences at the University of Buenos Aires. He works as a researcher at the Centro para el Estudio de Sistemas Marinos-CONICET in Puerto Madryn and is Professor of the Seabird Ecology and Conservation course at the Universidad Nacional de la Patagonia. Since 1984, he has been associated to WCS conducting research on the ecology and conservation of Patagonian seabirds, including penguins, gulls, terns and cormorants. Research topics have included distribution and abundance of breeding populations, breeding biology, habitat selection, feeding ecology, interactions with human activities, and conservation strategies. He has worked closely with conservation and fisheries government departments and the National Parks Administration providing advice in seabird conservation and planning of coastal environments. He has also acted as consultant on topics related to coastal and marine conservation for several national and international organizations. He is member of the Penguin Specialist Group of IUCN.
Dr. Patricia Gandini
Patricia Gandini has a PhD in Biological Sciences from the Faculty of Natural Sciences of the UBA (National University of Buenos Aires) and Category 1 Researcher from the National University of Southern Patagonia, and is a member of the teaching staff of the Caleta Olivia Academic Unit (UACO) Unit. She was President of the National Parks Administration (APN) since 2007 and a board member of APN since 2003. In 1993 she moved to Puerto Deseado, Province of Santa Cruz, and was a consultant for the coastal wildlife area project "Patagonian Coastal Zone Integrated Management Plan" funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and United Nations Development Program (UNDP) that was implemented by Fundación Patagonia Natural and Wildlife Conservation Society. During the 1990s she played a leading role in the creation of the Puerto Deseado Research Center. Author of numerous scientific papers published in international level scientific publications, director of doctoral thesis of biology students in the province of Santa Cruz and with support from the Wildlife Conservation Society, director of numerous researchers and fellows of the Puerto Deseado Research Center. Dr. Gandini is a leader in conservation of coastal biodiversity in Patagonia and has worked in association with the CADIC research center of Ushuaia and CENPAT of Puerto Madryn, both institutions that belong to CONICET.
Dr. Ricardo Baldi
Ricardo’s PhD research at the University of London demonstrated that competition with introduced sheep was a primary force behind the dramatic decline of the guanaco population in the region. Currently a researcher with the Argentine National Research Council (CONICET), he now leads WCS Argentina’s regional conservation planning for guanacos. He is a member of the South America Camelid Specialists’ Group of the IUCN, and led the process of evaluation of the status of the South American camelids for the IUCN Redlist. He has served frequently as a consultant on issues related to guanacos, maras, and Darwin’s rheas for provincial and federal government agencies, and was the lead author of the national management plan for the guanaco in 2006. Based in the coastal Patagonia city of Puerto Madryn, he also works with a group of ranchers in the Peninsula Valdés World Heritage Site to help them meet Wildlife Friendly™ standards of production on their sheep farms.
Dr. Sabrina Harris
Sabrina Harris is a biologist graduated and with a PhD in Biology from the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina. She has been recently incorporated as a researcher of CONICET (Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas), to monitor the health of seabird populations in Tierra del Fuego, Argentina, through the combination of the behavior, physiology and breeding performance of their individuals over time. She has participated in many projects aimed at seabird conservation supported by WCS, both in northern Patagonia and in Tierra del Fuego. The ultimate aim of her research is to develop a long-term monitoring system of seabird populations in this area in order to promote their conservation.
Dr. Emiliano Donadio
Emiliano has led an international research and conservation program on vicuñas, pumas, and Andean condors in the San Guillermo Biosphere Reserve of the Southern Andean Steppe, representing WCS Argentina in the implementation of the management plan for the reserve. He is currently expanding this program to the Patagonian steppe, where he hopes to learn lessons for both conservation of top predators and coexistence with livestock producers. He received a PhD from the University of Wyoming based on research on cascading effects of top predators in ecosystems of the high Andes. He has participated in WCS projects and initiatives in Patagonia since 1992.
Dr. Felicity Arengo
Felicity Arengo is currently the Associate Director of the Center for Biodiversity and Conservation at the American Museum of Natural History where she helps oversee project development and administration, strategic planning, and fundraising efforts. From 1997 to 2004, Felicity was the Assistant Director of the Latin America and Caribbean Program at the Wildlife Conservation Society. She has twenty years of field research and project management experience focused in Latin America and is currently the Americas coordinator of the IUCN Flamingo Specialist Group. In South America, she is working with partners on monitoring flamingo populations, site-based conservation action, and developing and implementing a long-term, regional conservation strategy that will ensure conservation of wetland systems. Felicity obtained her MSc and PhD degrees in Conservation Biology at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, NY, where her studies focused on foraging ecology, behavior, and conservation of flamingos in Yucatan, Mexico. She is an Adjunct Research Scientist at the Earth Institute, Columbia University, a Research Associate at WCS, and a scientific advisor to the AZA Ciconiiformes/Phoenicopteriformes Taxon Advisory Group.
Guadalupe is doing her undergraduate thesis at Comahue University on interactions in activity patterns of carnivores, prey species, and livestock in northern Patagonia, based on camera trap data. She was the recipient of a Wildlife Conservation Network student internship with WCS Argentina in 2013. This experience led to her current role as the field and office assistant for WCS’ work with camera trapping to determine distribution and relative abundance of carnivores in northern Patagonia, an area with intense conflict with livestock production.
Juan Martín Cuevas
Juan Martín Cuevas joined WCS Argentina in late 2015, to develop and implement a program of work on sharks and rays in the Patagonian Sea. Juan Martín received his Licentiate in Biological Sciences from Universidad Nacional de Mar del Plata (UNdMP) in Argentina, his MSc in Zoology from Universidade Estadual de Santa Cruz (UESC) in Brazil and completed his PhD in Natural Sciences from Universidad Nacional de La Plata (UNLP) in Argentina, with his Thesis titled Conservation tools for chondrichthyans in the Argentine Sea. In addition to his own field research, Juan Martín's priorities for the new program are networking with regional experts and assessing the current state of knowledge of species and fisheries, identifying data gaps, and developing a set of priorities for a five-year program of work, including research priorities.
Lic. Lara Heidel
Lara Heidel is writing her doctoral thesis on the impacts of climate change on human activities and the viability of guanaco and Andean cat populations in northern Patagonia. She also leads WCS’ research and conservation work on Andean condors, the subject of her undergraduate thesis. Lara was chosen to participate in the 2009-2010 class of Emerging Wildlife Conservation Leaders, sponsored by the Gilman Foundation, Defenders of Wildlife, USFWS, IFAW, and the Wildlife Conservation Network. She is a founding member and past president of a local NGO, Conservación Patagónica, based in San Martín de los Andes.
Dr. María José Bolgeri
Maria Jose (Maco) is developing and testing methods to deter predation by native carnivores, including the puma and the endangered Andean cat, on small livestock. This work was initially supported by and grew out of an internship sponsored by the Conservation Leadership Program. She also serves as WCS Argentina’s liaison with the protected area management authorities for Mendoza province. With WCS Argentina since 2005, Maco completed her doctoral thesis at Comahue University in 2016, studying the seasonal migration of guanacos in the large Payunia reserve and its effects on the patterns of predation on livestock by pumas. She is a member of the Alianza Gato Andino, a multi-national initiative dedicated to the conservation of the Andean cat.
Lic. Mariel Ruiz Blanco
Mariel is completing her doctoral degree based on her research on guanaco-puma interactions in the Payunia reserve of Mendoza. Previously she worked as a long-term field assistant in the remote San Guillermo Biosphere Reserve of the central Andes. Mariel´s work in Payunia is helping to clarify the role of predation on the population dynamics of guanacos and factors that affect massive guanaco migrations in the extensive Payunia landscape.
Dr. Natalia Radovani
Natalia works with small-scale livestock producers to reduce their persecution of native carnivores by providing assistance with the use of nonlethal methods to deter predation. She is also an authority on the effects of hunting of guanacos from oil roads, the subject of her undergraduate and doctoral theses from the University of Buenos Aires. Natalia has worked in different capacities with WCS Argentina since 2002. In addition, she has specialized in education and capacity-building at different levels and contexts, including children, park rangers, and graduate students, especially using the methodology of the Enseñanza de Ecologia en el Patio de la Escuela.
Dr. Susan Walker
With over 30 years’ experience in wildlife research and conservation around the globe, Susan has helped develop and carry out WCS’ work in the Patagonian and Andean steppe since 1999. Her doctoral thesis from the University of Florida was on the landscape ecology of the mountain vizcacha in Patagonia, and she has since supervised research by Argentine undergraduate and graduate students on carnivores, mountain vizcachas, rheas, condors, and guanacos, focusing on landscape-level analysis and monitoring. She coordinates WCS Argentina’s work with international certification agencies, livestock producer groups, and potential buyers to develop standards for livestock fiber production that allow producers to co-exist with healthy wildlife populations.
Lic. Valeria Falabella
In her first 10 years as Marine Biologist, Valeria Falabella worked on marine mammal’s research, ecology and diving behavior. During four years (1999-2003) her work was focused on scientific transference as the Scientific Coordinator at the EcoCentro Museum, in Patagonia. Since 2004, she works on marine conservation as the Assistant Director of the Sea and Sky Project. She manages the marine GIS database of WCS-Sea and Sky in order to identify priority oceanic areas and design spatial conservation tools for the management and conservation of the Patagonian Sea Ecosystem biodiversity. The main goal is the establishment of management plan for the Patagonian Sea, including MPA and a network of areas under special management regimes.
Dr. Victoria Zavattieri
Victoria Zavattieri is a Biologist from the University of Rio Cuarto, Argentina. During her early career, she worked in projects on the ecology and behavior of reptiles and amphibians. She also taught Ecology and Zoology of Invertebrates. In the late 1990s, she moved to coastal Patagonia, where she conducted research on the reproductive biology of marine invertebrates, especially sea stars. She also participated in research projects on southern elephant seals, collaborating with the field work and data analysis. Victoria has developed skills in scientific illustration and graphic design, which contributed to numerous publications, presentations and websites. She has illustrated the Patagonia’s singular wildlife with a distinctive style that incorporates humor to engage and educate people on scientific and conservation principles.