María Elena Barragán

Executive Director

Fundación Herpetólogica Gustavo Orcés

(Quito, Ecuador)

“My efforts to create more conscious and resilient communities is an inescapable responsibility in the conservation of snakes in Ecuador, and I have made this commitment as a goal of my life”

Born in Ecuador, one of the most diverse countries in the world in terms of reptiles, she had the opportunity to work with snakes at a young age.

After 30 years of work in the field of Herpetology, she is currently the Executive Director of the Gustavo Orces Herpetological Foundation, an Ecuadorian NGO that has led and positioned itself as a benchmark institution in the field of Herpetology in Ecuador.

She has been involved for several years working in rural areas, and indigenous communities to reduce the negative impact of venomous species. Today she continues to be in charge of the training program that the NGO has developed to train people on how to recognize species, prevention measures and treatment to stop and reduce the impact of snake-bites on human health. She also has a wide trajectory in snake captive management, conservation, management and treatment of snake-bite accidents.

She has a degree in Biology, a diploma in Management of Endangered Species from the University of Kent, UK, and a master’s degree in Environment and Education for Sustainability, Griffith University, Australia.

Her efforts and vision are directed and focused on education as a fundamental tool to shape friendly, respectful behaviors and to implement concrete actions towards venomous snake conservation.

From 2020: María Elena's Video

For 30 years, María Elena Barragán has traveled throughout Ecuador to capture venomous snakes with the main focus of research and promoting conservation. She works tirelessly to educate rural and urban communities about living amongst these amazing creatures.

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