Dr Erika Cuellar
I studied for my undergraduate degree in biology in Bolivia and began working in field research projects. Through these projects I gained valuable experience in ecological research and local capacity building. This experience was further developed during the establishment of the Kaa-Iya National Park and Management Area in the Bolivian Chaco.
In 1999 I read for a Masters degree in conservation biology at the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology (DICE). Between October 1999 and September 2005 I became involved in the research, conservation, monitoring and training activities associated with the Kaa-Iya National Park. Since 2000 this activity has focused on developing conservation actions to protect the last population of endangered guanaco in the Chaco region.
My work with the guanacos is now the focus of my doctoral thesis. In 2007 I won a Whitley Award for the delivery of a year-long training course benefiting 17 parabiologists native to three ethnic groups distributed among the indigenous communities bordering the Kaa Iya National Park. I also am a member of the IUCN Camelid Specialist Group and the IUCN Edentate Specialist Group.