I am a Colombian biologist passionate about the interdisciplinary approach of wildlife conservation and the interaction between biological and social sciences. I studied my bachelor degree at the National University of Colombia and my experience has focused on working with threatened species and understanding human-wildlife conflicts by improving capacities to promote active participation of local communities. I have been supporting different programs for the conservation and management of endangered turtles with the objective to consolidate information on the threats faced by this group and to prioritize conservation areas in my country. I also had the opportunity to work in two sea turtle monitoring projects in Costa Rica and Guatemala, which allowed me to improve my knowledge based on other conservation experiences in Latin America.
In 2018, I joined the Biodiversity Monitoring Program at the Humboldt Institute, where I was working in different projects in complex territories that were previously war conflict zones. We worked to establish a mammal-monitoring program in the Colombian Amazon, using a community-based approach with the aim of encouraging the transition towards more sustainable activities. We worked with more than 100 local leaders who completed inventories of mammal communities and identified associated conflicts. The results were included in a regional strategy aiming to recover the Andean-Amazon connectivity in this important biodiversity hotspot, linking previous hunting communities that will lead monitoring initiatives over the next few years.
I could not have dreamed of a better opportunity than to be part of this Diploma. I am sure this programme will help me to develop my skills in data collection and analysis, GIS and scientific communication. I think these aspects are key for scientific knowledge to be used in informed decision-making and to reach stakeholder engagement. I am excited to connect with other biodiversity enthusiasts and I know for sure this experience will be a great step to achieve my long-term goals, to continue my work as a Latin American scientist and to implement effective conservation actions in my country.