Our Mission

Our mission is to build a world where nature conservation and sustainability thinking are cornerstones of a society's development and wellbeing, resulting in a healthy and prosperous Planet Earth for everyone.

Our Team

We are a diverse set of motivated individuals from across Peru and the World, focused on making our mission a tangible reality. Read our biographies below.

Chris Kirkby (PhD)

Founder, President of the Board, Executive Director and Principal Investigator

Chris is a team builder and leader with a lifelong passion for science, nature conservation and sustainability, and forever focused on finding pragmatic and far reaching solutions to the age-old problems of environmental degradation, poverty, and poor education standards in developing countries, in his push for a healthier and more balanced life for all. He has a PhD in Biology from the University of East Anglia, an MRes in Ecology and Environmental Management from the University of York, and is also a Board Member of the Peruvian non-profit ARCAmazon, Co-Founder of wildlife photography outfit Untamed Photography Ltd., and member of the Oversight Committee of the Tambopata National Reserve. Chris has been working tirelessly in the humid tropics of the Peruvian Amazon for over twenty years and brings know-how, passion, enthusiasm, and fun to the Fauna Forever team. He enjoys travelling, hiking, bird watching, fishing, photography and painting. Chris is British, is married with two daughters, and lives in Cusco, Peru.

Sandra Felipa Luna

Founder, Secretary of the Board, Media Coordinator and Administrator - Cusco Office

Sandra is a communications leader and advocate for sustainable living, gender equality, community inclusion, ecotourism development, and environmental education. She is a qualified journalist from the Jaime Bausate & Mesa School of Journalism in Lima, and has worked as a television and radio reporter, producer and director of radio programs, communications consultant, environmental education consultant, in addition to various project management and administration positions. With over twenty years of experience working in Lima, Cusco, and Puerto Maldonado, she brings a can-do mentality to the team and helps everyone understand the importance of pragmatic thinking when it comes to getting things done in Peru. She enjoys reading, travelling, interior design, and bringing up kids. Sandra is Peruvian, she is married with two daughters, and lives in Cusco, Peru.

Ivonne Flores Figueroa

Administrator - Puerto Maldonado Office 

Ivonne is a superb fixer, problem solver, and all-round paper chaser with a professional and acute attention to detail, making her a perfect match for managing the day-to-day flow of funds, the local procurement of equipment and supplies that field teams require, ensuring equipment gets maintained, liaising with government departments, and ensuring local service providers are on the ball. She is a qualified administrator and has worked for over ten years in the local ecotourism sector in Puerto Maldonado, so understands the issues of getting people and supplies from Puerto Maldonado up and down Amazonian rivers to distant field locations efficiently and safely. Ivonne is Peruvian, is married with two sons, and lives in Puerto Maldonado, Peru.

Gabriela Wiederkehr

Liaison and Reservations Officer

Gabriela (Gaby) is an organizer with an interest in agroforestry research, forest conservation and community development. She has a BSc in Integrated Environmental Studies from Jacobs University, is an avid traveler, was a Fauna Forever volunteer in 2014, and in late 2016 will begin an MSc in Forest and Landscape Management at the ETH University in Zurich, Switzerland. She has worked in Guatemala and Germany in conservation organisations and as a teaching assistant. Gaby enjoys playing football (soccer), playing the piano, cooking, and nature photography.  

Jaquelina Alves-Ferreira

Liaison & Reservations Officer

Jaquelina has a deep interest in wildlife, nature conservation, and communication. Over the last few years she has gone out of her way to learn about wildlife conservation projects in different ecosystems around the world, primarily as a volunteer or intern, including countries like Australia, South Africa, Seychelles, and Peru. After her time with Fauna Forever, Jaquelina intends to study Wildlife Conservation & Biology at Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia in 2018. She has traveled extensively around the world, and enjoys the cultural diversity she has experienced along the way. She likes spending time with family and friends, walking and hiking in natural areas, drawing, baking, and camping.

Holly O’Donnell

Mammal Research Team Coordinator

Holly is a driven research biologist with a passion for mammals, rainforests, photography, and Latin America in general. She has a BSc in Zoology from the University of St Andrews and a plethora of field experience gained in the Chaco ecosystem of Paraguay as well as in Antarctica where she focused on cetaceans. She gets her inspiration from people like Jane Goodall and David Attenborough, and is well on her way to attaining her dream of becoming an experienced conservation biologist. After her time with Fauna Forever she intends to study for a Masters and then a PhD in Conservation Biology. Holly enjoys reading, yoga, going to music festivals, watching good films, and baking.

 by Wannes Bos

Erika Victoria Berrocal Rodriguez

Bird Research Team Coordinator

Vicky is an up and coming Peruvian avifauna specialist with a love for research and bird conservation, gaining the majority of her field experience while assisting graduate researchers in the Amazon rainforest and as a participant on the many bird banding programs led by the Center for Ornithology and Biodiversity (CORBIDI) in Lima. She has a BSc in Biology from the National University Agraria La Molina (UNALM), where she participated in monthly bird ringing sessions at the university’s bird banding station as well as at other such stations in other parts of the Lima region. She enjoys teaching newbies the intricacies and complexities of bird banding and sharing her skills relating to species identification by sight and sound, molt pattern identification (used to gauge the age of birds), and the rapid and safe handling and processing of birds in the hand. Vicky is Peruvian, and when not in Madre de Dios or Cusco she lives in Lima, Peru.

Luis Alberto Garcia Ayachi

Herpetology Research Team Coordinator 

Alberto is an experienced, energetic, hands-on Peruvian herpetologist focused on understanding the diversity and ecology of amphibians and reptiles in Peru’s tropical forests, though he has a particular soft spot for lizards. He has a BSc in Biology from the National University of the Peruvian Amazon (UNAP), is an associate researcher with the Andres Marmol Burgos Natural History Museum at this same university, and is also founder of his own non-profit organization, Naturaleza Amazonica (Amazonian Nature). As a field assistant in the past, he has also worked with invertebrates, including parasites of wildlife, as well as primates and plants. He enjoys photography, teaching, and travelling. Alberto is Peruvian, and when not in Madre de Dios he can be found in Lima, Iquitos or Yurimaguas, Peru. 

Corrie Rushford

Mammal Research Team Coordinator

Corrie is an enthusiastic nature and animal lover, and passionate about Latin America. She has a BSc in Organismal Biology from Portland State University. She specialized in mammals and their conservation, including marine mammals, but she fell in love with the biodiversity of Peru when she first visited the country in 2012, and has been here virtually ever since. In Cusco, where she usually lives when not in the forest, she has worked with a local animal rescue program, led eco-hikes in the mountains, and even helped open and run an ice cream shop. Corrie honed her knowledge of rainforest mammals while a volunteer with Fauna Forever in 2013, and went on to obtain the experience needed to successfully apply for a coordinator position. She brings knowledge, enthusiasm, passion and chocolate brownies to the team. Corrie is from the USA, and enjoys trekking, reading, snowboarding, baking and traveling.

Juan Carlos Huayllapuma Cruz

Communities and Photography Coordinator

Juan Carlos is a communities and ecotourism development specialist as well as an avid photographer, with a passion for conserving wild nature, for understanding and promoting the living cultures of indigenous Amazonian and Andean peoples, and for telling compelling stories through his imagery and film making. He has a BA in Ecotourism Studies from the National Amazonian University of Madre de Dios (UNAMAD), has worked extensively with non-profits, companies, and government departments as a media consultant, tour guide, field assistant, and as part of project management teams, and has had his imagery exhibited in Puerto Maldonado, Cusco, and Lima. Juan Carlos enjoys playing football (soccer), hiking and trekking, playing the guitar, and travelling. Juan Carlos lives in Puerto Maldonado.

Juan Carlos Lara Rivas

Botany Research Team Coordinator

Juan Carlos is a skilled local botanist specialized in identifying tree species from the Peruvian Amazon, having gained much experience in the past as an assistant on plant collecting expeditions, as an assistant to numerous graduate students from around the world, and while working for government departments responsible for managing forests in the Madre de Dios region. He has a BSc in Forestry Engineering from the National University San Antonio Abad of Cusco (UNSAAC), an MSc in Forests and Natural Resource Management from the National University Agraria La Molina (UNALM), and another MSc in Conservation Research and Sustainable Use of Forest Ecosystems from the University of Valladolid in Spain. When he is not focused on plants, he enjoys playing football (soccer), travelling, and photography. Juan Carlos is Peruvian, and lives in Puerto Maldonado, Peru.

 by Jesus Alferez Flores

Bladimir Pizango Isuiza

Jungle Chef

Bladimir (or Don Bladi to most of us) is a jungle chef extraordinaire, and passionate about creating delicious, nutritious, and good looking plates of food without all the palaver of a modern technology-filled kitchen. He has over 20 years of experience working in the kitchens of the most prestigious ecolodges in the Peruvian Amazon, and has spent time teaching the next generation of Peruvian jungle chefs. Give him some fresh, organic, local produce, a jungle stove, a canister of propane gas (or a wood fire), a sharp knife or two, a selection of pots and pans, an apron, and he will whip up a wholesome meal for up to 30 people in a matter of minutes. Don Bladi’s dishes keep our teams working hard in the field, and his humorous stories keep us all laughing at the dinner table long after we have eaten. Bladi is Peruvian, is married with four children, and lives in Puerto Maldonado, Peru.

Melo (Esmelin Leon Arimuya)

Boat Driver

Esmelin Leon Arimuya (known to everyone as Melo) is our main boat driver, in charge of getting our teams safely up and down the rivers of the Madre de Dios region, sometimes to and from very remote locations and in all types of weather. His many decades of experience driving all manner of boats large and small along broad, narrow, deep, and shallow bodies of water makes him an important member of our team. If the going gets tough out on the water, then rely on Melo to get you through. When not driving boats, he assists field teams with all manner of tasks, can serve up a memorable dish or two in the kitchen, and regales us with tales of extraordinary encounters with wildlife and about how the region used to be many years ago, and many a funny story of his exploits as a screen actor in the 1990s (La Ultima Selva Sin Hombres) and more recently in 2016 (Ceviche de Tiburon), which have made him by far the most famous member of our team! Melo is Peruvian, is married with four children, and lives in Puerto Maldonado, Peru.

Guillermo Subauste

Artist in Resident, Cachuela School Educator

Guillermo (though everyone calls him Chino) is our local artist in resident, and can almost always be found working away on some painting or other artistic piece on the porch of our house in Puerto Maldonado, or entertaining us with his harmonica tunes as the sun goes down. He also takes small groups of volunteers to assist on a variety of educational and maintenance activities at the Cachuela Primary School, located in a rural area a few miles from the city. He also undertakes some of the Liaison Officer duties in and around the house, when they travel upriver to supervise the fieldwork. Chino is Peruvian, and when not in Puerto Maldonado he can be found in Lima, Peru.