Coordinator, PhD


Patrícia Medici is a Brazilian conservationist whose main professional interests are tapir conservation, tropical forest conservation, landscape ecology, and communication. Patrícia has a Bachelor’s Degree in Forestry Sciences from the São Paulo University (USP – Universidade de São Paulo), a Master’s Degree in Wildlife Ecology, Conservation and Management from the Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG – Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais), Brazil, and a Ph.D. Degree in Biodiversity Management from the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology (DICE), University of Kent, United Kingdom. For the past 23 years, Patrícia has been working for a Brazilian non-governmental organization called IPÊ – Instituto de Pesquisas Ecológicas (Institute for Ecological Research) of which she was one of the founding members. Since 1996, Patrícia coordinates the Lowland Tapir Conservation Initiative and dedicates her life to the conservation of tapirs and their remaining habitats in Brazil. Since 2000, Patrícia has been the Chairperson of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group (TSG), a network of over 130 tapir conservationists from 27 different countries worldwide. Patrícia has been honored with three very prestigious conservation awards: Harry Messel Conservation Leadership Award from the International Union for Conservation of Nature in 2004, Golden Ark Award from the Golden Ark Foundation in the Netherlands in 2008, and Whitley Award from the Whitley Fund for Nature in the United Kingdom also in 2008. In 2011, Patrícia received the Research Prize from the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology (DICE) of the University of Kent in the United Kingdom. In 2013, Patrícia was one of the 39 nominees for the Indianapolis Prize 2014. More recently, Patrícia was honored with the TED Global Fellowship 2014.

Field Assistant


José Maria de Aragão is Brazilian and has more than 20 years of experience working as field assistant for several research and conservation projects leaded by IPÊ, including black-lion-tamarins, black-faced-lion-tamarins, tapirs, jaguars, small mammals, peccaries, and birds among others. Since 1996, José Maria has been Patrícia Medici´s right and left hand, helping her carry out the activities of the Lowland Tapir Conservation Initiative in the Atlantic Forest, Pantanal and Cerrado biomes.



Ariel Canena is a Brazilian Veterinarian, whose main professional interests are medicine, ecology and conservation of wildlife. Ariel is graduated from University of Contestado – UnC, and during his professional formation and enhancement has focused on learning about themes related to wildlife, mainly with free-ranging animals. Previously, Ariel has participated in both in situ and ex situ works with terrestrial and marine wildlife, for research purposes as well as for rehabilitation. Since 2017, Ariel has been working with tapir conservation in Brazil through the Lowland Tapir Conservation Initiative (LTCI), accomplished by the Brazilian Non-Governmental Organization called IPÊ – Instituto de Pesquisas Ecológicas (Institute for Ecological Research).

Communication Expert


Rodrigo Motta is a Brazilian communication expert graduated in Social Communication – Marketing and Advertising in 2010 from the Dom Bosco Catholic University (Universidade Católica Dom Bosco). While still a child, Rodrigo fell in love with the internet and its incredible power to connect people, ideas, and information. Later, he chose the Internet and its networks as his profession, to which he has been dedicating himself for 8 years. Rodrigo’s experience with the creation of online content, management of social networks and digital marketing strategic planning is the product of his work with large local and national brands, companies and projects. Furthermore, he was a member of the communication team of the two largest cultural festivals in Mato Grosso do Sul State in Brazil, from 2015 to 2018, working with digital coverage. Rodrigo is a member of the Youth Collective of the Environment since 2011, he was a mobilizer for the Mato Grosso do Sul State Committee for the Rio+20 Conference in 2012, and he volunteers with many environmental education initiatives.



Geolocation Expert


Rafael Ruas Martins has a degree in Biological Sciences since 2005. He worked at the IPÊ – Institute for Ecological Research – from 2004 to 2008 – as a GIS analyst – Geographic Information Systems – in research and conservation projects. Rafael fell in love with this tool, through which he can ally technology with conservation. In parallel with conservation projects, Rafael obtained training and became a certified ESRI geotechnology instructor to replicate his experiences and skills in geotechnology applications acquired in more than 12 years in conservation and other business areas for professionals and companies from all over Brazil. Currently, Rafael applies geotechnologies in the forest management segment of planted areas in the Atlantic Forest and Cerrado and low impact management in the Amazon. Rafael is a consultant to the Lowland Tapir Conservation Initiative, collaborating with tapir spatial data analyzes.

Genetic Analysis Expert


Gabriela Pinho is a fith year PhD candidate at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). She is a genetic consultant of the Lowland Tapir Conservation Initiative (LTCI) and a member of the Genetics Committee of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group (TSG). Gabriela’s main research area is molecular ecology, being interested in the use of genetic tools to inform management of populations and speciesCurrently she is studying epigenetic markers associated with aging in socially flexible species, with the aim of understanding which social conditions accelerate aging.Gabriela is also developing a genomic study to identify adaptations to highly seasonal environments in mammalsShe has experience in using non invasive sampling from lowland tapirs to estimate kinship among individuals and is involved with analysis of genetic samples collected by LCTI.

Road Ecologist Expert


Fernanda Abra is a biologist and received her Master’s degree in Ecology from the São Paulo University (USP) in 2012. She is currently a PhD student in the Applied Ecology Program at ESALQ-USP (Ecology, Management and Conservation Laboratory) by Profa. Dr. Katia Ferraz (ESALQ) and Dr. Marcel Huijser (Montana State University, USA). Fernanda coordinates FAPESP research to develop the first animal detection system in Brazil and, together with her partner, manages her environmental consulting company (ViaFAUNA), specialized in fauna management in transport projects such as highways, railways and airports. Fernanda coordinates the Working Groups on Road Impacts of the ICMBio National Action Plans for large cats, canines and ungulates. Fernanda’s collaboration at LTCI-IPÊ is focused on the orientation of implementation of mitigation measures in order to reduce the trampling of tapirs in highways in Mato Grosso do Sul state, as well as to prepare a complete guide for the implementation of mitigation and care structures fauna in road projects.

Anthropic Actions Expert


Mariana Landis is a Brazilian conservationist, interested in population studies and the effects of anthropic actions on the population density and occupation of tapirs and other species of the Atlantic Forest. Mariana has a PhD in Applied Ecology from the São Paulo University (ESALQ / USP), a Master’s degree in Ecology and Evolution from the Federal University of São Paulo (UNIFESP / Diadema) and a Bachelor’s Degree in Biological Sciences from the Sacred Heart University . Currently, he presides over the Manacá Institute, an NGO that works to conserve the biodiversity of the Atlantic Forest, and coordinates the Tapir Project, which aims to evaluate the conservation status of the tapir in the Ecological Continuum of Paranapiacaba and to develop strategies to reduce the pressures on the species in this area, an important remnant forest. Mariana has been a member of the IUCN SSC Tapir Specialist Group since 2014 and collaborates with LTCI on the research component on tapir conflicts.