Wildlife Conservation Society

Dr. Cristián Samper

President and CEO of WCS

Biologist specialized in Tropical Biology and an international authority in conservation biology and environmental policies; it began his tenure as President and CEO of WCS in 2012. Previously, he had been for 10 years Director of the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, part of the Smithsonian Institution, which has a collection of the world’s largest natural history. Leads the conservation policies of WCS programs, carried out in 65 countries across the world’s oceans. It also administers the Bronx Zoo, New York Aquarium, Central Park Zoo, Prospect Park Zoo and Queens Zoo, receiving a whole more than 4 million visitors a year.

Dr. Julie Kunen

Director for Latin America and the Caribbean for WCS

Archaeologist by profession, an expert in forestry and resource management in Latin America, since 2001 oversees conservation activities in 13 countries in the region. Hers career has been focused on biodiversity conservation and climate change, and has directed programs in Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Haiti, Mexico, Peru and part of the Caribbean, advising governments in the enactment of forestry laws.

Dr. Bárbara Saavedra

Director WCS-Chile

Chilean biologist, Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the Universidad de Chile with extensive experience in biodiversity and conservation. She is currently the Country Director for WCS-Chile and responsible for all the activities of this organization in our country, including Karukinka project in Tierra del Fuego. She previously worked as a researcher and independent consultant and is an active member of the Ecological Society of Chile, where she has been Secretary, Vice President and President. She has been Executive Secretary of the Advisory Council of Karukinka since September 2005.

The Chilean program is part of the WCS Program for Latin America and the Caribbean, which is also composed by Dr. Martín Méndez, deputy director; Mariana Varese, Deputy Director; Carlos Fajardo, LACP Program Finance Manager; Jennifer Blaha, assistant, and Jeremy Radachowsky, senior assistant.

Counselors from the scientific sector

Dra. Miriam Fernández

Marine ecologist, she is a professor at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. She earned her PhD at the University of Washington and completed her postdoctoral studies at the Catholic University and the Alfred Wegener Institut (Germany). She is one of five Pew Fellows in Marine Conservation in the region of the Pew Ocean Institute (USA). Manages the ECIM Coast Station in Las Cruces, the most important center of marine research in Latin America, and her area of specialization is life histories of marine invertebrates, fishery resource management and marine conservation. She joined the Advisory Board of Karukinka in 2012.

“I care about Karukinka, because it marks a pioneer path in conservation, which involves private agents and deepens the communication with the community in one of the most remote places in the world. I like that Karukinka deploys opportunities for new endeavors in conservation that link the marine world and the earth, the Atlantic and the Pacific”.

Dr. Javier Simonetti

Chilean biologist, expert in ecological and biodiversity conservation. Ph.D. in zoology and full professor at Universidad de Chile, where he is director of the Interdisciplinary Program in Biodiversity. Since September 2005 is a member of the Advisory Council of Karukinka and was its first President.

 Dr. Guillermo Donoso

Chilean Agronomist, PhD in Natural Resource Economics. He was Dean of the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry of Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. He is also chairman of the Environment Committee of the Confederation of Production and Trade. He is a member of the Advisory Council of Karukinka since September 2005.

“I care about Karukinka because of the high local and global biodiversity value contained in that area, and because it represents a different model of conservation through a public-private partnership that hopefully will contribute to other conservation initiatives in Chile and other countries”.

Dr. Antonio Lara

Forest Engineer, PhD in Forest Ecology and full professor of the Universidad Austral de Chile. Is an authority on the conservation of Chilean forests and currently leads research on ecosystem services of forests. Is part of the Advisory Board of Karukinka since September 2005.

“I care about Karukinka because it is the most valuable ecosystem’s reserve in the world, lead by a team of professionals working to preserve and show them to the world, making it available for people to be enjoyed and studied”.

MSc. Alfredo Prieto

Chilean archaeologist. He is a researcher of the Center for the Study of Man Southern Patagonian Institute at the University of Magallanes. He is a member of the Advisory Council of Karukinka since March 2008.

“I care about Karukinka because its fragile beauty and commitment to not be any one”.

Mateo Martinic

Chilean historian, won the History National Prize in 2000. Founder and director of the Institute of Patagonia, a research center at the University of Magallanes, where he is a full professor. He was a member of the Advisory Council of Karukinka between September 2005 and December 2006.

Dr. Ricardo Rozzi

Chilean ecologist, PhD in Environmental Philosophy. He led the creation of the Biosphere Reserve of Cabo de Hornos (Cape Horn), a protected area neighboring Karukinka. He is executive director of the Foundation Omora in Navarino Island. He was a member of the Advisory Council Karukinka between September 2005 and December 2006.

 Dr. Juan Carlos Castilla

Chilean biologist, Ph.D in Marine Ecology, full professor of Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, National Prize of Exact Sciences. His research became institutionalized in the Fisheries Act in Chile, through the incorporation of conditions for the establishment and management of marine protected areas. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States. He joined the Advisory Board of Karukinka between September 2005 and December 2011.

“I care about Karukinka, because it is absolutely unique, because is an essential part of our natural heritage and is the southernmost reserve in the world”.

Dr. Rodolfo Dirzo

Mexican biologist, Ph.D in Ecology. He did research at the Institute of Ecology and Biological Station of Los Tuxtlas, in Universidad Nacional de México. His main field of research is tropical ecology and conservation. He is currently a professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Stanford University. He joined the Advisory Board of Karukinka from September 2005 to December 2006.

 Dr. Kent Ford

Ecologist, Ph.D in Harvard, he was professor at the Center for Tropical Studies of the University of Florida, where he promoted an interdisciplinary program in conservation and development. He worked at The Nature Conservancy and directed for 14 years the Institute of Wildlife Conservation Society. Author of more than a hundred scientific articles focused on conservation, published and helped publish a dozen books and numerous technical studies. He has trained over 40 graduate students and has been a consultant to the World Bank and organizations dedicated to conservation. He founded and directs Archipelago Consulting. He was a member of the Advisory Council Karukinka between September 2005 and April 2011.

Dr. Steven Sanderson

Political scientist, he was Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences of the University of Atlanta and Director of the Tropical Conservation and Development Program of the University of Florida, where he was also director of the Department of Political Science. He specializes in the study of the relationship between poverty, biodiversity conservation and global environmental change. He has published several books and articles on the subject. For 10 years he was President and CEO of Wildlife Conservation Society, where he retired in 2012. He served on the Advisory Board of Karukinka between 2005 and 2012

Counselors from the private sector

Pedro Ibáñez

Chilean businessman, director of Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez and president of Corpora, an industrial group with diverse businesses related to food, wine and tourism. He was directly responsible for the development of the hotels Explora Atacama and Patagonia, pioneer projects in high standard tourism in Chile. He is a member of the Karukinka Advisory Council since September 2005.

 Kathleen Barclay

American, BA in Foreign Service at Georgetown University.  She is the founder and main partner of O’Leary and Barclay, an international consulting firm based in Chile. She was also president of American Chamber of Commerce in Chile and Chilean director of several corporations and nonprofit organizations. He is a member of the Advisory Council of Karukinka since September 2005.

 Laura Novoa

Chilean lawyer, she is part of the firm Philippi, Yrarrázabal, Pulido and Brünner. She is a member of the Foundation for the Americas and the NGO Pro-Humana. She worked as a prosecutor of joint mining companies and Codelco. She was also a member of the Advisory Council for Sustainable Development of United Nations and member of the Rettig Commission for Truth and Reconciliation in Chile. She is a member of the Advisory Council Karukinka since March 2008.

“I like Karukinka because it evokes my devotion to the Chilean forest. Because embodies the values of sustainable development under a name in a native tongue that means our land. Because it is located in a place with which one easily falls in love with, thanks to its rolling hills, forests and lenga and ñirres, its zoology and landforms baptized with evocative name by sailors who recognized its shores. Because it is enjoyable to share with its staff and counselors, many of them scientists from which one can learn”.

Claudia Bobadilla

Lawyer, she is member of the Executive Committee of Icare, of the Board of Endeavor Chile and Executive Director of Committee Chile-Japan XXI Century. She was founder and president of Comunidad Mujer (Women Community), which supports the increase in female participation in the labor force, and Executive Director of the Fundación País Digital. Today she is Director of Banco Santander, member of the National Council for Innovation and counselor of the ALMA project, and founder and director of the Network of the University Senior Management Development. She is part of the Karukinka Advisory Council since 2012.

 Rodrigo Egaña

Economist specialized in public affairs, with extensive experience in senior management positions in the Chilean government. He was Executive Director of the National Environment Commission, Undersecretary of the General Secretariat of the Presidency during the government of Michelle Bachelet, Director of the Reform and Modernization of the State, among other relevant positions. He currently coordinates the Master of Governance and Public Management at the Institute of Public Affairs of the Universidad de Chile, and from July 2010 member of the Board of Public Management. He is on the Advisory Board of Karukinka since 2012.

 Eliodoro Matte

Chilean engineer, MBA of the University of Chicago. He is a family member of one of the largest economic groups in Chile and president of one of its flagship companies: CMPC SA, controlling in Chile interests in various sectors such as banking, telecommunications, energy and real estate world. He is president of the Center for Public Studies (CEP) and one of the leaders of the agreement between NGOs and the Chilean forestry companies on environmental issues that resulted in the certification of forest products. He leads the defense of the protection of native forests in Chile. He joined the Advisory Board of Karukinka between September 2005 and December 2008.

 Dr. Larry Linden

American economist, Ph.D in Engineering and leader in the research division of the World Bank. He was adviser Director to Goldman Sachs Company and World Wildlife Fund Advisor and Maureen Cropper. He is also Professor of Economics at the University of Maryland. He founded and still runs the Linden Trust. He participated in the Karukinka Advisory Council between September 2005 and December 2006.

 Rafael Asenjo

Chilean lawyer, an associate researcher of the Centre for Development Studies and member of the International Law Committee of UICN. It was also the first executive director of the National Commission on the Environment and the Global Environment Fund of the UNDP. He joined the Advisory Board of Karukinka between March 2008 and December 2012

Wildlife Conservation Society Chile

WCS Punta Arenas

Ricardo Muza, Operations Manager.

Yessica Vásquez, Operations assistant.

MSc Alejandro Kusch, Coordinator of Terrestrial Resarch.

MSc (c) Daniela Droguett, Coordinator of WCS educational program and assistant of Marine Conservation Program.

Belen Guarda, Assistant of eduactional program

Mauricio Chacón, Chief Ranger, Tierra del Fuego.

Francisca Farías, Ranger, Tierra del Fuego.

Scharon Zegarra, Ranger, Tierra del Fuego.

Miguel Barrientos, Ranger, Tierra del Fuego.

Luis Gomez, guardaparques, Tierra del Fuego.

Alberto Gatica, guardaparques, Tierra del Fuego.

Rodrigo Grez, guardaparques, Tierra del Fuego.

Danilo Alvarado, guardaparques, Tierra del Fuego.


WCS Santiago

Dra. Bárbara Saavedra, Program Director

MSc. Melissa Carmody, Assistant to the Director and Researcher

MSc. Claudia Silva, Offsets and Conservation Strategies Coordinator

Eduardo Arroyo, Finance Director.

Gemita Molina, accounting assistant.

Cristián Briceño, accounting assistant.


The scientific Director of WCS Chile is Dr. Alejandro Vila, who resides in Bariloche. We also count with the support of associated researchers such as Fiorella Repetto, Milenka Gjakoni, María Acín and Marioli Saldías.