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06/26/18 - Jaguar Journey

Meet The Team

Panthera’s Jaguar program spans 14 countries in jaguar range. Our team includes many of the world’s leading jaguar biologists, researchers, site security experts, community educators and organizers who are breaking new ground in the science and strategy of saving jaguars and their habitat.


Alan Rabinowitz, PhD

Chief Scientist

Alan first communed with jaguars as a young child in the Big Cat House at the Bronx Zoo. One of the world’s leading jaguar experts, Alan is credited with identifying the need for a novel, range-wide approach to conserving the species. In 2006, Alan established the Jaguar Corridor Initiative, a sweeping effort to preserve the genetic integrity of the species from Mexico to Argentina. He has authored over one hundred scientific and popular articles and eight books.



Howard Quigley, PhD

Executive Director, Jaguar and Puma Programs

Howard’s work has included field studies of giant pandas in China, Siberian tigers in the Russian Far East, cougars in central Idaho, and jaguars in the Brazilian Pantanal. In the 1970’s, Howard and Dr. George Schaller began the world’s first comprehensive and ecological study of wild jaguars in the Brazilian Pantanal. On his first day in jaguar habitat, Howard was lucky enough to see a jaguar just 30 feet away, coming toward him on the trail. Thirty years later, Howard reflects, “Jaguars can take over your life; they took over mine.”

Ana Patricia Calderón Quiñónez, MSc

Guatemala Country Coordinator

A native Guatemalan biologist, Ana Patricia is studying the distribution of jaguars and their prey, and building relationships with local stakeholders in Guatemala. Ana Patricia helps to increase local partners’ awareness about their wildlife by sharing the secretive world of jaguars and other animals caught on camera traps. Says Ana Patricia, “Watching our partners become effective conservation stewards is one of the most fulfilling experiences of my job.”

Diana Friedeberg, MC

Mexico Country Director

Diana grew up in a small town in Mexico and has been crazy about animals since childhood. After earning her master’s degree in neurobiology from Duke University, Diana returned to Mexico with the goal of making a meaningful contribution to wildlife and her country. In her role at Panthera, she works with NGOs, communities, and government to protect habitat for jaguars and all animals.

Esteban Payan, PhD

Northern South America Regional Director, Jaguar Program

Esteban specializes in understanding and limiting impact from productive practices in the unprotected areas of the Jaguar Corridor. His work involves the application of best practices for extensive agriculture and livestock rearing to implement the corridor on a large scale. Esteban received his Ph.D. from University College of London and the Institute of Zoology (Zoological Society of London). He conducted his dissertation on jaguar and ocelot density and ecology within and beyond protected areas in the Colombian Amazonia.

Franklin Castaneda

Honduras Country Director

Prior to joining Panthera, Franklin held positions within a variety of non-governmental organizations, prívate consulting companies, and government departments, including Partners in Wild Cats Conservation, the Honduran National Wildlife and Protected Areas Department, United Nations Development Programme, the Honduran Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, USAID, and a ICF/UNESCO joint World Heritage project. He earned his Master’s degree in biology from the University of Costa Rica.

Rafael Hoogesteijn

Conflict Program Director, Pantanal, Brazil

Rafael serves as an expert on cattle management and the liaison between jaguar field scientists and cattle ranchers in the northern region of the Brazilian Pantanal. Originally from Venezuela, he received his veterinary degree at Central University in Maracay and began his veterinary career at the Caricuao Zoological Park in Caracas. Rafael has worked as a vet and manager for private cattle and water buffalo ranches in Venezuela and led field research expeditions in Venezuela’s Tepuyes Mountains.

Rebecca Foster

Belize Country Director

In collaboration with Dr. Bart Harmsen at the University of Belize’s Environmental Research Institute, the Belize Forest Department and the University Of Southampton (UK Darwin Initiative), Becci’s research includes the investigation of the connectivity of jaguar populations and the viability of habitats for Panthera’s jaguar corridor within central Belize. Becci also works with the Belize Livestock Producers Association and the Ministry of Agriculture to improve local rancher’s livestock management and to reduce human-jaguar conflict.

Roberto Salom-Perez

Mesoamerica Program Coordinator

Roberto’s work focuses on identifying areas with the most vulnerable jaguar populations and building relationships with local communities to ensure the protection of jaguars and their required corridors. His work also involves determining the size of jaguar populations in unstudied regions of Mesoamerica and assisting in the development of jaguar conservation initiatives in Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama.

Sandra Hernandez Potosme

Nicaragua Country Coordinator

A native of Nicaragua, Sandra studies the distribution of jaguars and often works with local indigenous populations to gather data about jaguars and mitigate human-jaguar conflict. Over the years, Sandra has studied a variety of wildlife while working with multiple local and international environmental conservation organizations.