Staff

Alexis Kovach
Field Biologist
Alexis earned her Master of Environmental Management degree from the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University in 2017, where she specialized in ecosystem science and community-based conservation. Prior to this, she served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Guinea, West Africa. Serving as an agroforestry extension agent, she worked with rural subsistence farmers to promote sustainable agricultural practices to increase food security. She also taught environmental education at local schools and collaborated with communities on reforestation projects that focused on natural resource management and environmental stewardship. She received a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2012. As a field biologist for the WCS Ecuador team, Alexis supports the development of conservation projects and encourages the participation of indigenous communities in conservation initiatives.
Brian D Horne
Freshwater Turtles and Tortoises Coordinator
After completing his PhD at Ohio University on the developmental biology of Neotropical freshwater turtles in Meso-America, Brian D. Horne spent five years as a postdoctoral fellow at the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research conducting invesitgating critically endangered freshwater turtles and tortoises in South and Southeast Asia. As a life long turtle biologist, Dr. Horne has conducted field research on six of the seven continents (only excluding Antarctica which is devoid of all turtles). As a member of the steering committee member for the IUCN Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group, he co-authored the landmark report on the Top 25 Most Endangered Freshwater Turtles and Tortoises. He is also co-chair of the Turtle Survival Alliance’s field conservation programs. In addition to his turtle conservation publications, Dr. Horne has widely published on topics ranging from parasitology to endocrinology. Dr. Horne’s wildlife photography has appeared in numerous books and magazines.
Claudia Silva
Coordinadora de Estrategias de Conservación
Bióloga con mención en Medio Ambiente. Magíster en Ecología y Biología Evolutiva. Master en Manejo y Conservación de Biodiversidad. A cargo de coordinar acciones para posicionar la conservación de biodiversidad en la planificación del desarrollo del país. Trabajamos con el sector público y privado, diseñando e implementando lineamientos para la gestión de biodiversidad en la industria, planificación del manejo de áreas protegidas, y alternativas para la sustentabilidad financiera de la conservación.
Diana Paredes
Coordinator of the Landscape Ecology Department
Diana Paredes is the coordinator of the Landscape Ecology Department. She graduated in 2012 with a degree in Geographic Engineering and the Environment from the Escuela Politécnica del Ejército, and worked for 3 years as a geographic consultant before graduating. She supports WCS Ecuador’s technical team with analyzing and modeling to create social and biological maps of our landscapes. Diana also works on issues of strengthening control and monitoring system of Ecuador's protected areas with the SMART tool.
Fernando Anaguano
Wildlife Biologist
Fernando Anaguano joined WCS Ecuador in 2013, and works primarily in Pastaza and Orellana provinces of Ecuador’s Amazon region on biological monitoring and wildlife conservation activities. Fernando has a degree in Biological and Environmental sciences from the Universidad Central del Ecuador, and has worked on various research projects in both the coastal and Amazon regions of Ecuador since 2010. He specializes in freshwater fish.
Francis Ordoñez
GIS Specialist
Francis Ordoñez graduated in 2012 with a degree in Geographic Engineering and Environment from the Escuela Politécnica del Ejército. She participated in the definition of a biological corridor connectivity; she has also participated in the development of a thematic mapping at national level. Francis was part of the team that conducted the studies for the implementation of an Early Warning System for Floods in the Cañar River Basin, Ecuador. Francis is part of the GIS WCS team, working in analyzing and modeling to create social and biological maps of our landscapes.
Galo Zapata
Science Director
Galo Zapata Ríos is another veteran member of WCS Ecuador. Since 2001, he has conducted fieldwork on a range of taxa (plants, insects, small and large mammals) and systems (Chocó wet forests, Andean ecosystems, and Amazon rainforests). He has also led the design and implementation of several large-mammal surveys and community-based wildlife management programs, in addition to training numerous conservationists ranging from university students to local indigenous people. Galo earned his BS in Biology at the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador in 1997 and his master's degree in Landscape Ecology and Conservation Biology from Ohio University in 2001. In 2014, he finished his PhD in Wildlife Ecology and Conservation at the University of Florida.
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.

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