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 PhD Degree in Biodiversity Management from the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology (DICE), University of Kent, United Kingdom. For the past 31 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 (LTCI) 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 is a TED Fellow since 2014 and a National Geographic Explorer since 2019. She has been honored with several very prestigious conservation awards: Harry Messel Conservation Leadership Award from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (2004); Future for Nature Award from the Future for Nature Foundation in the Netherlands (2008); Whitley Award from the Whitley Fund for Nature in the United Kingdom (2008); Columbus Zoo Commitment to Conservation Award, United States (2017); William G. Conway International Conservation Award – Significant Achievement, United States (2018); National Geographic Society / Buffett Award for Leadership in Conservation, United States (2019); and, Whitley Gold Award from the Whitley Fund for Nature in the United Kingdom (2020).

Field Assistant


JOSÉ MARIA DE ARAGÃO is Brazilian and has over 30 years of experience working as a field assistant for several research and conservation projects carried out by IPÊ – Instituto de Pesquisas Ecológicas. José Maria has worked with several research and conservation programs 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 all over Brazil.

Genetic Analysis Expert


GABRIELA PINHO is a member of the LTCI team and a postdoctoral researcher at the Federal University of São Carlos (UFSCar). She has a PhD Degree in Biology from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), a Master’s Degree in Ecology from the National Institute for Amazonian Research (INPA), and a Bachelor’s Degree in Biological Sciences from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ). Gabriela’s research interests lie in contributing to species conservation by answering key questions about animal behavior, population dynamics, aging patterns and factors influencing individual fitness in wild populations. She has used genetic markers as a tool to answer some of these questions, but has also studied individual hormone levels, social networks, individual body measurements and survival. She has coordinated teams and participated in field data collection in several ecosystems (Amazonia, Atlantic Forest, Pantanal, French Alps, and Rocky Mountains in Colorado, USA). Gabriela has teaching experience with undergrad students and has led educational outreach workshops for tourists and kids. She has ties with the LTCI since her Master’s studies—when she analyzed tapir samples and estimated individual relatedness. Gabriela’s main role in LTCI is to capitalize on samples that have been collected throughout the last 27 years to better understand tapir social behavior and population genetics at a continental level. Her motivation to join the LTCI team is to produce scientific knowledge currently unavailable for tapirs and use it to promote the conservation of tapirs and their environment.



ALEXANDRA TISO CUMERLATO has a veterinary degree from the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (2005-2011). In addition, she was a veterinary resident in Wild Animal Medicine at the Sorocaba Municipal Zoological Park, in a collaboration with the São Paulo State University (UNESP, Botucatu Campus, 2012-2014). Alexandra has a post-graduation in Veterinary Dentistry from the University of São Paulo (USP, 2014-2016). Throughout her career, she has been an autonomous veterinarian working with general practice and dentistry and clinic for small and wild/exotic animals. She was a volunteer and worked on several research and conservation projects focused on wild mammals (capture, anesthesia, collection of biological samples, health assessment, dental assessment, sample processing and storage). Currently, Alexandra is a full-time member of the LTCI staff.



FERNANDA CRISTINA JACOBY has a veterinary degree from the Federal University of Mato Grosso do Sul (UFMS). During her undergraduate studies, she worked as a volunteer in several conservation projects and obtained skills to monitor wildlife roadkill, set camera traps, identify species, and capture wild animals. In addition, she worked with wildlife handling, care, anesthesia, and surgeries at Associação Mata Ciliar. Fernanda has been a member of the LTCI team since July 2022, and her main role is to anesthetize captured wild tapirs, to collect biological samples for the evaluation of tapir health, to perform necropsy of road killed tapirs, to manage data and to monitor camera-traps. Fernanda joined the LTCI to contribute to tapir conservation by developing research about how etiological agents and habitat alterations affect the wellbeing of tapirs in the wild.



RAQUEL ALVES has a jornalism degree from the Federal University of Mato Grosso do Sul (UFMS) in Campo Grande, MS, Brazil. Since the conclusion of her degree, Raquel has focused her work on environmental communication. During her graduation, she participated in projects with communication through social media, which is one of her areas of interest. At the end of graduation, Raquel developed a hypermedia piece on the impacts of pesticides on traditional communities in Mato Grosso do Sul. The piece won a prize at the Experimental Research in Communication Expo (EXPOCOM), in the regional and national categories. Subsequently, Raquel worked for a non-governmental-organization operating in the Pantanal and Cerrado, on the communication of socioenvironmental projects. Her main area of interest is environmental communication through digital media. Recently, Raquel joined the LTCI team to overview the communications of the Initiative, focusing on the relevance of tapir conservation and highlighting the scientific achievements and applications.