Rafael Hoogesteijn

Rafael Hoogesteijn was born in Caracas, and studied in the Colegio La Salle La Colina and in 1978 he received his degree as Médico Veterinario at the Faculty of Veterinary Sciences. Whilst at Central University, Maracay also spent time engaging in Statistics, Genetics and Cattle Breeding and his time there saw him leaving with a Special Graduation Award for the highest qualifications of his class. From 1978, he worked at the Caricuao Zoological Park as Veterinarian, Zoologist and Director in Charge. He then went on to practice independently with the Venezuelan Center for Artificial Insemination and in the early 1980’s he worked as the coordinator for several research projects that were developed in beef cattle ranches, located in flooded savanna. In 1996 Hoogesteijn obtained a Master of Sciences degree in the Wildlife Ecology and Conservation Department of the University of Florida and the title of his thesis was: “Body mass and skull measurements in four jaguar populations and observations on their preybase”, this was supervised by Drs. Mel Sunquist and John Eisenberg. Hoogesteijn has been a member of the Cat Specialist Group of IUCN since 1986, and he has participated and published the results of many different studies in National and International Congresses, Workshops and Scientific Meetings in relationship to beef cattle and water buffalo breeding in tropical and flooded savanna conditions; through this work he has also developing strategies to reduce feline predation problems in ranches located in those areas. Alongside his versatile past, Hoogesteijn is also an acclaimed wildlife photographer; his work has appeared in numerous books and magazines. Since early 2008 he has begun working with the Panthera Foundation as Cattle Manager and Liaison between jaguar researchers and ranches administrators in two beef cattle ranches, devoted to wildlife conservation in the Northern Pantanal of Brazil.