Esteban Payan, PhD

Regional Director, Northern South America Jaguar Program

Esteban Payán is the Regional Director for Panthera’s Northern South America and Panama operations. In this capacity, Esteban’s work focuses on understanding and limiting impact from productive practices in the unprotected areas of the jaguar corridor. This implies a major involvement in 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. While conducting this research, he lived with the Tikunas for two years and evaluated the sustainability of indigenous and colonist hunting of wild meat.

Esteban is interested in the contribution of unprotected areas to large carnivore conservation, sustainable wild meat hunting, road ecology and jaguar-human conflict. He has worked in the past in jaguar population genetics and skull morphology. Born in Colombia, he grew up between Colombia, the United States and the UK. Today he lives in the Colombian mountains with his wife and two daughters.

Selected Publications Featuring Esteban Payan:

Scientific Articles

  • Bernal-Escobar, A., E. Payán & J. Cordovez. 2015. Sex dependent spatially explicit stochastic dispersal modeling as a framework for the study of jaguar conservation and management in South America. Ecol. Model., 299: 40-50.
  • Payán, E., C. Carbone, K. Homewood, E. Paemelaere, H. B. Quigley & S. Durant. 2013. Where will jaguars roam? the importance of survival in unprotected lands. In: Molecular Population genetics, Phylogenetics, Evolutionary Biology and Conservation of the Neotropical Carnivores: 603-628. M. Ruiz-Garcia & J. Shostell (Eds.). Nova Science, New York.
  • Ruiz-Garcia, M., E. Payán, A. Murillo & D. Alvarez. 2006. DNA microsatellite characterization of the jaguar (Panthera onca) in Colombia. Genes Genet. Syst., 81:115-127.


  • Payán, E. & C. Castaño-Uribe. 2013. Grandes Felinos de Colombia. Bogotá: Panthera Colombia, Conservación Internacional Colombia, Fundación Herencia Ambiental Caribe y Cat Specialist Group UICN/SSC. 192 pgs.