About Us

Members

Onçafari consists of an interdisciplinary team of biologists, veterinarians, field guides and even a former racing driver.

Meet some of our amazing team members, who are all passionate about what they do.

Executive

Mario Haberfeld

CEO/Founder

Mario was born in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and has had two abiding passions since childhood: racing cars and wildlife. After a long career of nearly 20 years in motorsport, with stints in Formula 1 and Formula Indy, he decided to dedicate himself entirely to wildlife conservation. He has traveled to various parts of the world in order to visit several animal conservation projects involving gorillas, tigers, polar bears, pandas, leopards, lions and more. Mario decided to establish Onçafari in order to conserve Brazil's biodiversity, and to assist in the development of local communities through ecotourism and science.

Simon Bellingham

Co-Founder

Simon was born in Zimbabwe, where, as a child, he became fascinated by nature. He started his career as a professional wildlife guide in South Africa, working for several major groups of small hotels that utilize ecotourism as a method of conservation. He has made significant progress in his career and now holds the most advanced certification in his profession in South Africa. After meeting Mario, they developed a plan together to promote ecotourism in Brazil. After several visits to the Pantanal, it became clear that for any plan to work it would be crucial to include jaguars.

Statutory Board

Alexandre Bossi

CEO and founder of Pandhora along with Isaias Lopes. Bachelor degree in Economics from Mackenzie University and Business Administration by Fundação Getúlio Vargas. His professional career was built in many institutions (such as Mauá Capital and Pactual) and he was founding partner of Brasil Capital. Alexandre began his career at Cannel Capital, San Francisco. This business executive is closely involved with environmental preservation, which includes being head of SOS Pantanal and counselor of Onçafari, among many other organizations.

Pedro Camargo

- Founder of Jaguar Maintainer Santa Rosa
- Advisor to SOS Pantanal
- Advisor for the protection and conservation system of Serra do Amolar
- 16 years of experience in value Investing
- Founding partner and manager of Trilha Investimentos (2013–present)
- Founding partner of Pandhora Technologies (2016–present)
- Worked as Trainee in Skopos Resource Administrator (2007) and senior business analyst in DEC Investments (2003–2013)
- Licensed administrator by CVM and certified by CGA (ANBIMA)since March 2010
-Bachelor’s degree in Economics from FAAP (2007) majoring in Capital Markets USP/ Fipecafi (2008)

Robert Betenson

Bobby has a European background but is born and raised in Brazil. He graduated in Hotel Management in Switzerland and an Caiman lodge for 5 years where his passion for nature became an important value in his life. After the Pantanal, Bobby tab corporate hotels before founding MATUETE, a high end travel company in São Paulo, back on 2001.

Roberto Klabin

Bachelor’s degree in Law from USP, involved in the environmental movement since 1977. Founder of several NGOs, such as SOS Mata Atlântica, for which he was acted as chairman for 22 years.

Consulting Board

Ana Cristina Haberfeld

Bachelor’s degree from Economics. Dedicates herself to developing travel itineraries specialized in unique experiences. Proud mother of 2 children, Roberto and Mariana. One of her greatest pleasures in her job is to present the Pantanal to her keen clients, and observe how they fall in love with nature, just as she did.

Arri Coser

With more than 40 years of expertise in the food industry, this entrepreneur has established the restaurant sector by investing in barbecue and pizza establishments in NB Steak and Maremonti.

Fernando von Zuben

Chemical engineer, masters in Environmental Engineering from UNICAMP. Extensive experience in chemical industries (Monsanto and Shell) and food segments (Nestle). Responsible for Tetra Pak global environmental area based in Lund, Sweden. Environmental Director of TetraPak in Latin America, developing recycling technologies for materials such as thermal plasma reactor. Chairman of CEMPRE for two terms, Corporate Commitment to Recycling. Secretary of State for Environment in São Paulo in 2017. Currently head of EnviroPartners, specializing in corporate sustainability.

Guilherme Amaral Ferraz

Agricultural Engineer graduated from ESALQ-USP. He worked for 10 years managing a family rural property.
He migrated to the financial market – where he started his career at an Investment Bank. Nowadays he continues to work in the financial management of funds.
He has been a member of the Board of an NGO for 20 years that coordinates efforts to preserve the Itupararanga Reservoir basin in the region of Ibiúna – SP.

Lilian Marques Esteves

Lilian Marques Esteves holds a degree in Computer Science from Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro. Currently managing her family business, she is responsible for Romanof Ltda, a private Real Estate holding company in Brazil. She is the chair of Argiano Società Agrícola’s Board of Directors and has a leadership position at Agropecuária Santana Do Deserto. She began her career as a systems analyst at Varig Viação Aérea Rio-Grandense and afterwards she held several roles in software development in local companies. In 2015, she took the Harvard Business School HBX Core and, in 2018, the Financial Times Non-Executive Director Diploma program. Lilian is deeply interested in environmental causes and has been in Conservation International’s Brazil Consulting Council since 2012. In February 2020, she became an effective member of Estapar’s Board of Directors as well as part of the Board for an ambitious philanthropic project in technology education: Inteli - Instituto de Tecnologia e Liderança. She has recently joined the board of directors at Onçafari and at SOS Pantanal.

Marina Courrol

Bachelor’s degree in Law from Mackenzie University, major in Environmental Law from COGEAE PUC/SP, master´s degree in Political and Economic Law with emphasis on Climate Change from University of Mackenzie. Assistant professor for the course Climate Changes in Environmental Law Specialization at COGEA PUC/SP. In Onçafari, Marina is responsible for the association´s legal affairs.

Raquel Machado

Raquel Machado is a dermatologist, from Minas Gerais state, based in capital of São Paulo, a conservationist, animals and nature defender of the rights. She founded a maintainer legalized by IBAMA in 2010, in the municipality of Porto Feliz, in São Paulo state, to protect and shelter wild animals that are victims of trafficking and mistreatment. She is responsible for the management of the area, partnerships establishment, fundraising and institutional interfaces. She is currently President of the Raquel Machado Institute, with the mission of promoting the Brazilian wildlife conservation of through responsible management, rehabilitation, release in nature and environmental education aimed at trafficking and hunting inhibiting, in addition to acting in the protection of natural and recovery of degraded areas. She started to act directly with private lands conservation. She acquired two areas in the Ministry of Health, both private reserves of natural heritage (RPPN) for protection, research, visitation and environmental education - one located in the Atlantic Forest (RPPN Saci), and another in the Cerrado (RPPN Santuário), contributing to the protection of the greatest possible diversity of environments. She is part of the largest private conservation project in the country, Santa Sofia in the Pantanal . She is advisor of the Neotrópica do Brasil Foundation, SOS Pantanal and Onçafari Project.

Roberto Klabin

Bachelor’s degree in Law from USP, involved in the environmental movement since 1977. Founder of several NGOs, such as SOS Mata Atlântica, for which he was acted as chairman for 22 years.

Teresa Cristina Ralston Bracher

Teresa Cristina Ralston Bracher spent most of her childhood at her family’s farm, in the countryside of São Paulo state, where she first became passionate about nature. In 2005, she fulfilled an old dream and acquired her first farm, where she could focus on her main vocation: environmental preservation. She’s the founder of Acaia Pantanal, a social organization with the mission to contribute to human and social development in the Pantanal. She took part in an articulation that resulted in the acquisition of Santa Sofia Farm, a 33 thousand hectares area that was also at imminent risk of deforestation. Teresa is on Onçafari’s board, where she contributes with all her knowledge acquired in more than fifteen years of intense dedication to the preservation of the Pantanal.

Supervisory board

Fabio Prada

26 years of working experience in the Finance area, as a trader, finance director and financial advisor.

Vast experience in banks treasury department area, worked as a trader for 2 foreign banks, Citi and Banco Santander, assisting corporate client’s close treasury operations such as: investing, hedging, loans, foreign exchange and trade finance.

15 years of experience as Finance Director/CFO (from 2001 to 2016) of large corporations: Huawei Technologies, ZTE Technologies and Mitsubishi/Suzuki Motors.

4 years of experience in the global wealth management area being a license advisor in Brazil and US.

Business Administrator, graduate of FAAP University of Brazil.

Holds 2 FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority) license certifications to work in the US securities industry: SIE (Securities Industry Essentials) and Series 7 (Registered Representative)

Hold an ANCORD (Brazilian FINRA like entity) license certification: AAI (Agente Autonomo de Investimentos) license to buy and sell securities in the Brazilian Financial Market.

Member of CREA-SP Conselho de Administração de São Paulo

Volunteer Fiscal Board Member since 2017 of Oncafari Project,

Rafael Fuganti

Financial Market professional with 20 years of experience in institutions such as JP Morgan, Merrill Lynch, Santander, BR Partners, and Bank of America. Current and/or former performance in controllership, risk management, compliance, operating manager, and protection against money laundering. Before being part of Onçafari Counsil, Rafael was a volunteer in Laje Viva Institute, a protection organization of marine life in Laje de Santos. He also worked as an underwater photographer in Mantas do Brasil Project.

Marketing Advisory Board

Alexandre Max

Marketing Consultant

CEO of Vivae, a training company, focused on continuous education and employability. Holds ample experience in edtechs, working in Pearson and Casa do Saber, as well as being a business manager for companies like Dell, McDonald’s and Kimberly-Clark. Alexandre has a degree in Business Administration and Economy, by Mackenzie University and a postgraduate degree in Marketing, by UC Berkeley.

Ivan Martinho

Marketing Consultant

Ivan Martinho is a business administrator graduated in FAAP, with postgraduate by ESPM, MBA by Fundação Dom Cabral and extension in Kellogg School of Management, in Chicago. His career includes works for Ambev, Vivo, Michael Page, T4F (Time for Fun), Traffic Sports where he was responsible for the business sponsoring unit, media Rights and sports properties, having direct experience in events as the Brazil Cup, Confederations Cup 2013, World Cup 2014, America Cup 2015 and Rio Olympics 2016. Held the CEO position of Flix Media, the largest media company Cinema da América Latina belonging to Cinemark, was VP of AdSales for the channels Fox, Fox Sports and National Geographic and in the last 3 years held the CEO position of WSL (World Surf League) for Latin America. Ivan is also a post graduate teacher in the Sports Marketing course from ESPM, Ibmec-RJ and CBF Academy, a mentor in ArenaHub, adviser in MIBR, in FanBase and in NGO Onçafari, column writer in Máquina do Esporte, creator and host of Podcast Patrocinei! besides co-founder of Instituto Pequenos Grandes Guerreiros.

Administrative Team

Amanda Guedes

Marketing Analyst

Amanda is a biologist and educator graduated from Universidade de São Paulo (USP), showing great interest in biodiversity conservation, education and scientific diffusion. During graduation, she was a part of several university extension projects for grade school students and a volunteer in scientific diffusion projects through podcasts and videos, being part of script writing to editing episodes. Being a part of Onçafari is a great achievement for Amanda and an important opportunity to unite science, education and audiovisual production towards the goal of environment conservation.

Carina Toleto

Administrative Assistant

Graduated in business administration by Universidade Presbiteriana Mackenzie with a 100% scholarship, accomplished her dream to work in a Big Four, being for 4 years in the area of technical and accounting for external audits in PwC, where she developed technical and interpersonal abilities.
Did a digital marketing course where she learned to sell digital products through social media advertising and did small works as a Freelancer creating content for blogs with distinct niches. Her hobbies are playing piano, reading and cooking. She loves to travel, observe and capture landscapes. She found in Onçafari a great opportunity to contribute, even indirectly, to environment conservation.

Felipe Oricchio

Project Analyst

Graduated in biological sciences from USP in 2012, continued his academic career, finishing his master’s degree in 2015 and his doctor’s degree in 2019, both in ecology and evolution. He frequently says he didn’t become a biologist, he was born one. From a young age his admiration for nature was clear. After that period he decided to better understand other areas of the biologist's work, and worked for three years as an environmental analyst in the consulting area, producing several studies and environmental impact reports in different environments. In 2022 he started a MBA in Data Science. From April 2023 he is in Onçafari as a project analyst and sees his role as a privilege and a great responsibility, taking this opportunity as a real chance to fight for Brazilian biodiversity conservation.

Germano Knorr

Director of Finances

Since his childhood, Germano has been immersed in the world of sports. He started playing tennis at the age of 5 and continued to follow his passion until he graduated in Business Administration with a concentration in finance at Winthrop University/USA, where he attended college as a student athlete. In 2014 he completed his MBA in Global Management from Thunderbird School/USA. Germano has more than 10 years of experience in the financial and administrative areas, working in Brazilian and American companies. Acting in financial planning, strategic development, identification of business opportunities, and combining management to achieve organizational goals, he followed a career based on his passion for sports, but moved on from a career in athletics to one in sports management. Now, he enters the new and exciting world of biodiversity, where he has developed a passion that has grown to be stronger ever since he joined Onçafari.

Jéssica Donelli

Marketing Assistant

With a degree in Biological Sciences by Universidade Presbiteriana Mackenzie (UPM), Jéssica is remarkably involved and dedicated with Brazilian fauna scientific dissemination and environment conservation. She is involved in projects for traditional and social media, besides having developed a scientific dissemination card game for public school students during an internship in technology, which got her a participation in the prestigious European Conference on Research in Science Education (ESERA). Also, her undergraduate research and internship focused on bacteriophages as an alternative to antibiotic use for the treatment of bacterial diseases in plants and animals, showing her concern with the environmental impact of these compounds. Her commitment with biodiversity has broad effects, from her projects and her role in Onçafari’s marketing, which shows her versatility and passion to contribute to the progress of science and for society.

João Almeida

Operations Director

João was born in São Paulo and from the very beginning felt passionate for environmental and social issues, mainly influenced by his father and mother, who dedicated their careers to support environmental justice in Brazil. He graduated in biology in 2006 (São Paulo University, USP), and since then is dedicating his time to push the environmental agenda, with focus on biodiversity conservation, animal protection and other related positive issues, in different Brazilian biomes. In 2010 he concluded his master’s course (USP), demonstrating the negative effects some substances and pollutants produce against flora and fauna. Between 2010 and 2017 he worked for the environmental consulting sector as leader of environmental and social projects, overseeing fauna, flora and protected areas. In 2018 he started his journey in the nonprofit sector, by the time as the wildlife manager at the international organization World Animal Protection (WAP), when he led projects and campaigns to transform the tourism industry and ensure responsible wildlife experiences. In recent years João has worked as WAP executive director, representing the NGO in the Brazilian market. João started in Onçafari in August 2022, as the operations director.

Julia Kusminsky

Institutional Relations and Events Analyst

With a bachelor's degree in Literary Studies from Unicamp and an MBA in Book Publishing from Instituto Singularidades, she has solid experience in the publishing industry, where she spent a decade specializing in proofreading and translation. In 2021, she embraced the challenge of becoming a Chapter Manager at an International Association, assuming key responsibilities including event organization and strategic partnerships.

She has discovered a genuine passion for events over the past three years and is deeply involved in this new role. Her involvement with the Onçafari team has further strengthened this interest, bringing valuable insights and a sense of purpose. This represents a unique opportunity to apply her expertise in organizing events that not only promote wildlife conservation but also engage and inspire the community.

Juliana Werdesheim Altona

Marketing and Strategy Consultant

Graduated in business administration by PUC-SP, worked in renowned companies, both national and international, where for 15 years developed business strategies, led big brands, promoted innovations and product launches, and managed relevant communication campaigns. Her passions are: her family – being married with 3 sons -, nature and traveling. And so it was, in one of her trips with her family to Pantanal, she was charmed by Onçafari. Juliana joined us as a management, strategy and marketing consultant.

Lélia Barbara Doumit

Marketing Manager

Lélia graduated in international relations from FAAP and continued her studies by completing a MBA in marketing at ESPM. She has more than 10 years of experience in the marketing sector by working for multinational corporations and continued her career as an entrepreneur for the last 5 years, where she started her own business. She is passionate about nature, loves traveling, practicing Yoga, and meeting new people. In 2017, she traveled to South Africa and attended a safari for the first time. After this incredible experience, she became even more devoted to promoting environmental conservation. Today, she leads the marketing team at Onçafari.

Marcella Pônzio

Scientific Coordinator

Marcella was born in Viçosa, a small town in the interior of Minas Gerais, Brazil. From an early age, she was exposed to and very curious about nature-related topics, which significantly influenced her educational path. Marcella is a biologist currently completing her Ph.D. at USP (Universidade de São Paulo). She also holds a master’s degree from USP and completed her undergraduate studies at UFV (Universidade Federal de Viçosa), including an exchange period in England. During her master’s program, she investigated how populations of maned wolves (Chrysocyon brachyurus) and pumas (Puma concolor) use landscapes composed of degraded areas, agricultural fields, and protected regions. In her doctoral research, she explores how landscape characteristics, such as the amount of native vegetation and heterogeneity, influence native mammal communities and invasive species in agricultural landscapes within the Cerrado biome of São Paulo. With over 10 years doing environmental work, Marcella has provided consultations, contributed to national and international research projects, and actively participated in significant scientific events. Her primary areas of interest include ecology, biodiversity conservation, and mammalogy. Marcella firmly believes that scientific research can serve as a tool for promoting socio-environmental justice. Since May 2024, she has held the position of Scientific Coordinator at Onçafari.

Paula Amaral

Management Analyst

Paula’s first contact with corporate finance occurred when she won a scholarship for administration at SENAC/SP, the academic institution and university Paula attended. This experience made an important difference and opened new job opportunities in the area, where she worked for six years in a project for training tennis players. There, she was responsible for the accounting area under the Brazilian Ministry of Sports. She has a passion for traveling, nature, and discovering new places. Additionally, her hobby is baking, which she also graduated with a degree for under the SENAC/SP institution.

Stephanie Simioni

Operations Coordinator and Social Coordinator

Biologist with bachelor and teaching degree from Universidade de São Paulo (USP), gathered experience from internships and voluntary work related to conservation and environment education, her fields of interest. Did an exchange program in University of Canterbury, New Zealand, where expanded her knowledge on these subjects and worked as a volunteer in a local NGO. Did an internship in Divisão de Fauna Silvestre (Wild Fauna Division) de São Paulo, and developed research on the human-fauna interactions in the city. In love with what she does, she believes that environment conservation and social change must go hand-in-hand. In Onçafari since 2019, today she supervises the Social Branch and NGO operations in one of the Atlantic Forest bases.

Field Team

Adauto Ferreira

Onçafari Guide

Chipa has worked for many years in the field. His many different skills include the following: he has handled cattle all over the Pantanal, worked as a tractor driver and even a boatman. His knowledge of the flora and fauna of the Pantanal is vast as he was born in the region. He joined the Onçafari team in 2018 and received training from African professional guides. He felt so fulfilled in his career that he decided to raise his family in Cayman. His daughter was born in the Pantanal in 2019 and will soon accompany him on adventurous journeys in search of the jaguar.

Bianca Machado

Guide and Biologist - Base Coordinator (Legado das Águas)

Licensed biologist, she graduated in Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro – Macaé campus in 2022. She always was passionate about felines, both wild and domestic and working with these animals was a childhood dream. From the first period in the faculty she got involved in mammal research: her first internship was with small mammals monitoring in Parque Nacional da Restinga de Jurubatiba performed by URFJ-Macaé Zoology Laboratory. She was also part of the Project "Avaliação dos efeitos de Gasodutos e Oleodutos na Mastofauna e análises da eficácia de medidas mitigatórias" (Survey of gas and oil pipelines effects on the Mastofauna and efficacy analysis of mitigation measures) in Silva Jardim-RJ in partnership with Universidade Estadual Norte Fluminense Darcy Ribeiro (UENF) and Associação Mico-Leão Dourado. During this project she had the first contact with camera trap fauna monitoring and found the line of research she would like to follow. Besides that, she found a passion for teaching and to be in touch with people from different cultural backgrounds, embracing the challenge of environmental education. Now she works as a biologist and bilingual guide in Legado das Águas na Mata Atlântica base with emphasis on puma and ocelot monitoring.

Bruno Carvalho

Socioenvironmental Coordinator of Reserva São Francisco do Perigara

Graduated in biology with a masters degree in ecology (UEPG and UFPR). I have dedicated my life to working with fauna since 2006, with experience in registering, inventory, management and leading projects related to fauna in all Brazilian biomes. I’ve a special interest and affinity with research and land mammal and bird conservation, especially large macaws. Today I’m a socioenvironmental coordinator in Reserva São Francisco do Perigara.

Bruno Sartori

Onçafari Guide and Biologist

A biologist graduated from UNESP-Bauru, passionate about nature photography and environmental education. Since childhood, he has always sought to understand more about the world, and like any child who grew up watching nature documentaries, is passionate about wildlife. He works so that more people learn about the importance of conservation for animals and how it benefits humans. He is now a bilingual guide for Onçafari at the Caiman Pantanal base.

Chiara Bortolotto

Onçafari Guide and Biologist

Born and raised in Brasília, in the center of Cerrado, she always had a great appreciation for nature and the wildlife of the biome. Was a volunteer in a zoo and reserve in South Africa, a time in which her passion for large mammals and their conservation greatly increased. She graduated in Biology in Universidade de Brasília (UnB), where she was an intern for 4 years in Laboratório de Fauna e Unidades de Conservação (Fauna and Conservation Units Laboratory), focusing in herpetology in Cerrado. In this internship she learned a lot about the large diversity of anurans and their biological importance, and studied the importance and the necessity for the conservation of this biome. During the graduation she worked in an extension project with focus on environment education for the schools in Alto Paraíso in Goiás, GO. With the increasing desire to work with the conservation of the most biodiverse Savannah in the world, it’s a great accomplishment to be part of Team Onçafari, contributing with the preservation of Maned Wolves, an animal intimately related with this biome.

Daniel Filho

Field Assistant

Daniel, a native of Mambaí-GO, a city near the border with Bahia, has always enjoyed being in nature and connecting with animals. His first professional experience was as a firefighter with ICMBio in 2013. Between 2014 and 2021, he worked at the “Criadouro de animais silvestres” at Fazenda Trijunção. In 2022, he returned to ICMBio as a firefighter, accompanying researchers in the Goiás and Bahia Conservation Units where he worked, always dedicated to protecting and understanding nature and its inhabitants. In 2024, Daniel joined the Onçafari team in the Cerrado, at the Pousada Trijunção and Grande Sertão Veredas National Park complex, monitoring large felines, including black jaguars—an experience he describes as surreal. Daniel hopes to continue contributing to the Cerrado project, aiding in the preservation of these species and the biome where he was born.

Diogo Lucatelli

Biologist and Guide's Trainer

Since graduated as a Biologist at Federal University of Bahia in 2011, Diogo has been working as a nature guide in the Pantanal. He joined the team in 2012 as a guide, biologist and tracker. Through his career he increased his experience as a guide leading trips to various other areas in the Pantanal, but the partnership never faded. Together with Onçafari, Diogo underwent animal tracking skills training and, more recently, has attended a 2-months long nature guide course in South Africa. Today, he is responsible for the guide's selection and training season for both Onçafari and Caiman Ecological Refuge. Now, in 2021, he is heading the Tapirapé Project, a new pioneering joint effort between Caiman Ecological Refuge and Caiman to monitor and habituate tapirs. Our aim is to extend the success of the jaguar habituation work to the largest land mammal in Brazil, and for that Diogo spends his days tracking and trying to understand these amazing creatures.

Eduardo Fragoso

Science Coordinator - Base Coordinator (Parque Nacional Grande Sertão Veredas)

Born in Santa Catarina, Edu is a biologist graduated in 2014 from the State University of Ponta Grossa (PR). He is currently the coordinator of the Science front of the Onçafari. Since the beginning of his career, he has been focusing on research and conservation of mammals, with emphasis on top predators, such as jaguars, pumas and wolves. He joined the Onçafari team in 2015, working with photographic trapping, collecting, compiling and analyzing data, tracking and habituation of jaguars in the Pantanal and wolf guards in the Cerrado. He has a deep interest in ecology, behavior and strategies for the conservation of these species in free life.

Everson de Alvarenga Brandão

Born and raised in Retiro São Bento, municipality of Barão de Melgaço, MT, Everson or Dundo as he is known in the region, learned soon the work on the field. Expert rider, he learned how to do every job related to cattle farming.
Dundo worked for 8 years in the RPPN from Sesc Pantanal as part of the fire brigade, while also getting a rich experience with ecotourism, guiding tourists visiting the CPPN as well as giving logistic support to researchers working in the Reserve.
Nowadays, Dundo works in Reserva São Francisco do Perigara in the field with extensive cattle ranching, and give his support for all kinds of maintenance jobs needed in the Reserve.

Gabriela Burattini

Biologist

Gabriela has a bachelor and teaching degree in Biological Sciences from Universidade de São Paulo (USP). During the graduation she was an intern in Centro de Manejo e Conservação de Animais Silvestres (CeMaCAs), where she had her first experience working with wild animals. She also did field activities in avifauna and mastofauna monitoring. Has a master’s degree in Ecology from Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ) in 2022, in which she investigated the diet and conservation of the Brazilian tapir. She works as a field biologist with emphasis on camera trap monitoring. In her view, it is a great satisfaction to be able to apply her experience in a project on behalf of biodiversity conservation.

Gabriela Carvalho

Onçafari Guide and Biologist

A passionate biologist dedicated to the Cerrado, she spent her undergraduate years conducting field research. Graduated from the Universidade de Brasília (UnB), she focused on ecology, demography, and herpetofauna diversity in Cerrado. She did an internship at the Herpetology Collection of Universidade de Brasília (CHUnB) and the Laboratory of Fauna and Conservation Units (LAFUC). Always curious about the richness and biodiversity of this biome, she volunteered in research projects as a field assistant. Her journey into conservation began at a zoo, where she worked with reptiles, amphibians, and arthropods, whe, and discovered how to contribute more to wildlife, species conservation, and animal welfare. Today, she broadens her horizons by working in in situ mammal conservation, with a focus on the maned wolf and keeps her eyes, ears, and heart attentive to all biodiversity and new knowledge.

Giovanna Leite

Onçafari Guide and Biologist

Biologist graduated from Mackenzie, during her graduation she worked with environment education and scientific dissemination and was a volunteer at CeMaCAS - Centro de Manejo e Conservação de Animais Silvestres no Estado de São Paulo (Center for wild animals managing and conservation from the state of São Paulo).

After her graduation, she got experience in communication, production of texts and content related to biodiversity conservation while working for GreenBond Conservation. She did volunteer work in Rio Grande do Norte monitoring sea turtle nests.

Her passion was always in conservation and because of it, she merged social media and photography to divulge nature preservation. Nowadays, she is a bilingual guide and biologist for Onçafari in Caiman Pantanal Base, achieving the dream of being able to work with jaguar conservation.

Isabela Meniz

Onçafari Guide and Biologist - Base Coordinator (Pousada Trijunção) and Education Coordinator

Biologist graduated from Universidade Presbiteriana Mackenzie and from the beginning of the course, volunteered in ICMBio in Chapada dos Guimarães, awakening the passion for Cerrado, and choosing to work towards this biome conservation. Since then, worked for two years as environment monitor in Parque Ibirapuera, in São Paulo Secretaria do Verde e Meio Ambiente (UMAPAZ), where expanded her abilities with the public and as a guide, besides doing academic and social work. Was an intern in laboratório de Ecologia Vegal (laboratory for Plant Ecology) in Instituto de Biociências – USP, developing an educational game on exotic and invasive species in Cerrado. Studied the effects of forest fragmentation in Cerrado on population distribution of Wolf Fruit (Solanum Lycocarpum St Hil.) in Brazil, presenting the results in Congresso Nacional de Botânica (Botanics National Symposium) in 2021.
Nowadays, Isabela works as a Biologist and bilingual Guide, achieving the goal of living in the heart of Cerrado monitoring Maned Wolves, contributing to biodiversity conservation and sharing with people all this love for nature.

João Pedro Salgado

Onçafari Guide and Biologist

Originally from Conceição de Macabu, RJ, João Pedro Salgado is a biologist who graduated from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ). During his undergraduate studies, he worked on restoration and environmental assessment in the Amazon rainforest, in addition to various environmental education projects focused on the Atlantic Forest, a biome he has loved since childhood and seeks to understand its functioning. Passionate about landscapes and animals, João Pedro is also a nature photographer and has traveled extensively throughout Brazil photographing.

Julia Neves

Fire Management Technician

Born in Cerrado, specifically in the administrative area of Ceilândia, a peripheral district of Brasília, she always had an curious gaze of the environment and its spatialization in the territory, which led her to develop a love for Geography, a broad and analytical science. With a degree in Geography from Universidade de Brasília, she has participated in projects and research in the fields of physical and technological geography, and has authored articles in this area. Her interests lie in geoprocessing, ecosystem management, environmental studies, applied geography, and integrated fire management. She works as a fire management technician, and it is an immense achievement for her to contribute to wildfire management in Pantanal and Amazon through the lens of Geography.

Juninho Correa

Onçafari Guide

Born and raised in the village IPEG, district of Taunay, in Aquidauana, Juninho is from the Terene ethnicity and from a young age he is in touch with nature, helping in the field managing cattle. As an adult, he was hired as a firefighter in PrevFogo - IBAMA, preventing and fighting fires in the region where he always lived. He worked 05 years for the institution, where he was also head brigadier and squadron chief. Juninho loves to learn new things and to be in touch with nature. In 2023 he began his activities as a Onçafari field guide, in Caiman base - Pantanal, where he loves to learn with new people and his daily experiences.

Leonardo Sartorello

Rewild Coordinator

Leonardo started his career as a biologist in 2004 working with clinical pathology. In 2006 he joined the team of Sao Paulo’s Zoo as an environmental educator and wild mammals’ management staff. He improved his skills with wild animals in captivity working in “Fundação Animalia” rescue center. Leo also monitored wild animals in the Atlantic Rainforest mountain chain between the states of Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. He joined Onçafari in 2012 helping in the habituation of jaguars and in capture campaigns for monitoring jaguars health status and behavior. Leo now coordinates the Rewild Centers of Onçafari, both in Pantanal and Amazonia, and also monitors the jaguars from Para State with the support of the Brazilian Air Force (FAB - Força Aérea Brasileira) in one of our bases, located in Pousada Thaimaçu. He is the technical responsible person for reintroduction, capture and monitoring of jaguars and pumas in face of Cenap/ICMBio.

Lilian Rampim

Operations Coordinator of Base Caiman Pantanal

Graduated in Biological Sciences in 2005 with focus on wildlife management and conservation, Lili always aimed to work with animals. She had her first work opportunity at São Paulo’s Zoo, where she worked researching small cats as a junior biologist. She also worked on a wildlife rescue center before deciding to broaden her wild cat population knowledge, which took her to the Atlantic Rainforest in Brazil. She's been a member of Onçafari ‘s team since 2012 and coordinates the team on the ground, organizes all the data that is collected and gives presentations, among many other activities in the office and on the field.

Lourenço Custódio Marques de Souza

Lourenço was born in Poconé, MT. He began working on farms in the region as a kitchen helper. In Fazenda Campo Novo he had the opportunity to learn and drive tractors and afterwards expanded his expertise to other kinds of machinery, such as the wheel loader, d-4, d-8, bulldozer among others.
He worked as a machine operator during the fires of 2020 with DEPAN, containing the fire along the transpantaneira road.
Today, in Reserva São Francisco do Perigara, Lourenço, better known as Marruco is the machine operator, responsible for the maintenance of all the road access in the Reserve. Reopening and maintaining roads, he allows both people and the local fauna to get around easier.

Luan Ramires

Onçafari Guide and Reintroduction Assistant

Born and raised in a farm which worked with rural tourism, in Miranda-MS, since I was a kid I’ve really liked nature and had a great interest in getting to know the fauna and flora “pantaneira”. In my adolescence, I found my passion for birds and photography and started guiding tours in Delta do Salobra, Pantanal. In 2022, I started my graduation in biological sciences and had the great opportunity to join team Onçafari, where I work as field guide and assistant in Centro de Reintrodução de Animais Silvestres (Reintroduction Center for Wild Animals).

Lucas Morgado

Onçafari Guide and Biologist

I am a biologist who graduated with a bachelor and teaching degree by Universidade Federal de Juiz de Fora (UFJF) in 2020. I was always the type of biologist passionate about being on the field, who likes to be surrounded by nature and animals. In 2016 I was in an exchange program in Perth, Australia. I’ve worked in several fields in Zoology, with a focus on Ornithology, having experience with observations, acoustic and visual census of birds. Between 2018 and 2020 I’ve worked as an Environment Teacher in the Botanic Garden of UFJF, receiving and guiding schools and tourists, as well as participating in the development of projects towards environment education and scientific dissemination. It was there where I discovered that I wanted to work showing the wonders of our fauna and flora to the public. Onçafari turned up to be the perfect opportunity to work with what I love.

Lucinete Silva

Born and raised in the Perigara region on the banks of São Lourenço River, Lucinete was always a resident of the region.
When she was a kid she studied in the school inside Fazenda São Francisco.
As a grown woman, she worked in several farms and inns in the region such as the Arara-Azul inn, the Treze inn, Triunfo inn, Fazenda Tarigara and Fazenda São Francisco. Her main job was as a cook, but also worked as maid and waitress.
In Reserva São Francisco do Perigara she is responsible for the kitchen where she delights all with her wonderful seasoning and captivating mood.

Marcos Ávila

Onçafari Guide and Biologist

Born in Goiania (GO), Marcos is a biologist who graduated in Universidade Federal de Goiás. From the beginning of his graduation started developing research projects with mammal ecology in Cerrado, was a class monitor for 2 years in Zoology disciplines, founded the Forensic Sciences Academic League (Liga Acadêmica de Ciencias Forenses) and was a member of Laboratory of Theoretical Ecology, Metacomunities and Landscape Ecology (TheMetaLand). After his graduation he worked as an environmental consultant, performing surveys and fauna monitoring with mammals. He developed activities related to Fire Ecology as a volunteer researcher in Centro Nacional de Pesquisa e Conservação de Mamíferos Carnívoros (CENAP) from ICMBio. Passionate about Brazilian biodiversity and willing to be close to nature, today, working as a Bilingual Guide in Onçafari, he is fulfilling a lifelong dream with a smile on his face and a happy heart in order to help preserve all life on our planet.

Maria Julia Sternberg

Onçafari Guide and Biologist

Born in Ilhabela/SP, where she fell in love with nature and became aware of the need of biodiversity conservation and the importance of ecotourism for that end goal. She graduated in Biology, with the purpose of collaborating to the healthy maintenance of ecosystems.
She was involved in research projects and actions for sustainable agriculture and that’s why, at the end of the graduation, enrolled in a master’s degree in ESALQ/USP with the objective of comprehending the use of microorganisms as an alternative for pesticides.
After this experience, her desire for working directly with biodiversity conservation has awakened. That’s why she decided to live near wildlife, to learn with masters of Cerrado, like maned wolves, and exchange lessons with those visiting the biome. With great satisfaction, she works as a bilingual guide and biologist in the base Trijunção, in Cerrado.

Mario Nelson Cleto

Onçafari Guide

Born and raised in the Pantanal, Mario Nelson has worked as a field guide at Onçafari since 2015. The Pantanal is his home; he extremely thorough knowledge of the area. He also has experience with cattle management, having grown up watching his father and grandfather working in the fields. He was trained by African professionals, and even visited the continent to learn English in order to better communicate with foreign guests. He loves to guide and continues to learn new habits of the Pantanal fauna, particularly the majestic jaguar.

Matheus Santos

Onçafari Guide

Born and raised in Juquiá, a town in the interior of São Paulo, since he was a kid he’s always enjoyed connecting with nature, venturing into waterfalls and trails. In 2020, they began working at Legado das Águas as a monitoring agent, ensuring that no hunters or palm harvesters entered the reserve. Today, he works as a field guide at Onçafari, with the privilege of observing the wildlife and native flora of the Atlantic Forest.

Natália Cará

Onçafari Guide and Biologist

Born in São Paulo, Natália got a bachelor and teaching degree in Biological Sciences in 2014. She began doing volunteer work and internships around the world in 2013 and hasn’t stopped, trying to work with as many species as possible, alternating between rescue and rehabilitation and field research, in places such as African countries, South, Central and North America. She found out about Onçafari during her internship in Projeto Arara Azul, in 2018, and was amazed by pantanal and its biodiversity. She went her own way, but always thinking about returning.

Passionate about finding and taking photos of animals, watching their behaviors, she recently found a new passion: to share this love with others and make them fall in love with nature!

After years, she’s finally back in pantanal in 2023, where she works as a bilingual guide and Onçafari biologists, accomplished and very proud.

Rachel Befi

Field Assistant

Graduated in Veterinary Medicine in Universidade de São Paulo (USP) in 2023, she devoted her entire graduation to working with wild animals. She did internships in a few institutions, but discovered her vocation while working for Divisão de Fauna Silvestre (Wild Fauna Division) from Prefeitura de São Paulo, where she met people who integrated fauna conservation with social and cultural work. On this framework, she developed her scientific initiation project working with data from fauna observation in the city as a tool for developing public policies.

Nowadays, she works at Onçafari with fauna monitoring using photographic traps, seeing this opportunity as a great and special professional achievement.

Ricardo Arrais

Veterinarian

A veterinarian that has been involved in research and conservation projects since graduating in 2006. With nearly 20 years of experience in capturing, handling, and collecting biological material from wild animals, as well as providing consultations, studying road ecology, and monitoring wildlife using camera traps and GPS/VHF tracking devices.
In addition to his practical experience, he holds a master’s degree in Animal Science through the Applied Experimental Epidemiology to Zoonoses Program at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Zootechnics at USP. During this program, he researched pathogens transmitted by ticks in maned wolves and domestic dogs living near the Serra da Canastra National Park in the Brazilian cerrado, with a focus in the health of carnivores and their relationship with domestic animals. Furthermore, he has a doctorate in Wildlife Conservation and Management from the Instituto de Ciências Biológicas at the Universidade federal de Minas Gerais (UFMG), where he researched population patterns linked to the movement and the spatial ecology of wild felines in the Parque Estadual do Rio Doce, one of the last remnants of the Atlantic Forest in Minas Gerais.
Currently, he is responsible for capturing procedures involving jaguars, pumas, maned wolves, tapirs, and ocelots conducted by Onçafari across four different biomes. His role includes anesthesia, handling, biological sample collection, and establishing partnerships in the field of veterinary medicine and conservation.

Roberto do Prado Souza

Born in the region of São Pedro de Joselândia, Roberto grew up with his family on the banks of São Lourenço River.
From an early age he learned with his parents how to work the land, planting and harvesting food such as rice, beans, manioc, corn and many others.
After that, Roberto worked for many years on Fazenda Santo André, today part of the RPPN of Sesc Pantanal, where he began working as a herdsman and learned how to work with tractors, gaining experience and mastery in working with all kinds of agricultural implement.
Today, in Reserva São Francisco do Perigara, he works with a lot of dedication the job of tractor driver, cultivating the awe and admiration for wildlife he learned growing up.

Rodrigo Falcão Ventura

Onçafari Guide and Biologist

Since a young age, Rodrigo was always passionate about nature and animals in general, which resulted in him becoming a biologist. Graduated as bachelor in biology (2018) at Paulista University (UNIP) and post-graduated in Biodiversity and Conservation (2020), Rodrigo worked for 6 years at Associação Mata Ciliar's rewild center, where he got experience in animal wealth in captivity and environmental enrichment. As a biologist, he performed environmental education activities, lectures, animal handling classes and worked at the wildlife department, providing consultancies about wildlife, rescuing, rewilding and releasing wild animals. He always had a big admiration for Brazilian fauna and pantanal have some heavyweights in this area, like jaguars, giant anteaters, anacondas and caimans. When the chance to live near these animals and work with them came, he didn't think twice to join the Onçafari team so he could share his love and admiration for pantanal with the tourists who come to visit the biome.

Ruan Clemente Ponte

Field Guide

Born and raised in the Pantanal of Aquidauana, Ruan spent his childhood accompanying his father, who also worked for a long time as a field guide.
Passionate about nature and a true connoisseur of the region’s fauna and flora, he aspires to be one of the best field guides, showing the riches and beauties of the Pantanal to all who are interested in visiting his region. Curious and dedicated, he also wants to learn English to better aid foreign guests who venture into Pantanal.

Stéphanie Birrer

Social Coordinator and Project Leader at Terra Indígena Perigara

Environment manager graduated in Universidade de São Paulo (2011) with a Master's degree in Regional and Environment Development from Universidade Federal de Rondônia (2016), she works with Traditional People and Communities since 2012.

In her professional path, she always had the goal of bringing value to socio biodiversity, supporting manufacturing processes, good practices, marketing and access to public policies.

She admires the harmonious way that Traditional People and Communities live with nature and are able to preserve the biodiversity on territories from different biomes.

Taile Nascimento

Field and Research Assistant

Born in the Caatinga, in the city of Jacobina, countryside of Bahia, she spent most of her childhood surrounded by the many animals present in the city. That way a love for animals was born, and she worked for 7 years with domestic animals, being that her first opportunity was in a hotel and daycare for dogs. Graduated in Radiology, and specialized in veterinary. During that time, she had courses on animal behavior, fauna enrichment and techniques for sampling fauna. With the goal of being even more involved with wild animals, she looked for jobs that worked directly with biodiversity conservation.

She works as field and research assistant, with focus on radio and camera trap monitoring, and tracking, and feels very accomplished for living in the heart of Cerrado working with Onçafari with large wild carnivores, especially jaguars.

Wellington da Silva Moura

Born and raised in Pimenteira, in the municipality of Barão de Melgaço. True born herdsman, Welling or Careca, his nickname in the region, rode his first horse when he was only 3 years old.
He learned his day to day chores with his grandfather, Jose Dias, with whom he not only learned how to ride, but also how to deal with cattle: from breaking a wild horse, to lasso cattle on the field and conduct large herds for long distances throughout Pantanal.
He worked on the field in several farms of the Perigara region, such as Fazendo Campo Novo, Fazenda Tarigara and Fazenda São Francisco since 2011.
Since the acquisition of Reserva São Francisco do Perigara by Onçafari, Wellington is the foreman, the main responsible for the cattle managed in the Reserve.

Are you interested in joining our team? Send your resume to us!