- More than 35 years of experience make Luis Germán Naranjo one of Colombia’s most distinguished naturalists. This appointment was made in recognition of his research and contribution to scientific knowledge and the academic training of other researchers in the country.
- The Colombian Academy of Exact, Physical and Natural Sciences is one of the organizations that the Colombian government consults to make key conservation decisions, like the expansion of new protected areas in the country.
Being an honorary member of the Colombian Academy of Exact, Physical and Natural Sciences is the greatest distinction for a Colombian scientist. To be elected, you must go through a rigorous process that takes into account contributions to science and the academic training of other people. On June 20, Luis Germán Naranjo Henao, Director of Conservation at WWF-Colombia, received this important distinction in a ceremony recognizing his research and contributions to scientific knowledge and the academic training of other researchers.
“It really surprised me because this distinction arrives at a moment in which I no longer see myself as the researcher I once was. It brought with itself a series of valid and necessary reflections regarding my current endeavors, and it made me understand that the work one carries out influences people and decision-making at different levels. Everything one does should be an act of humility and responsibility,” explains Luis Germán.
For WWF-Colombia this appointment is a source of joy, and we see it as a well-deserved recognition of Luis Germán and an entire life devoted to science and nature – efforts that have always been accompanied by passion and love. Besides, it is a clear demonstration that academia values leadership in the fields of conservation and ecology.
A life devoted to science and nature Luis Germán studied marine biology at Jorge Tadeo Lozano University. Among his colleagues he is known as “el profe,” or “prof,” since he was a professor and researcher at Universidad del Valle, in the city of Cali, for almost 20 years. During that time, he advised more than 30 undergraduate and Masters theses. For his colleagues at WWF, all of this experience has allowed him to be clear with and close to people. Additionally, it has given him an exceptional clarity in explaining concepts and topics that can be foreign to the majority of people.
He holds a Masters degree in animal ecology and a PhD in evolutionary biology from New Mexico Sate University. He has contributed to more than 155 publications, including articles for scientific magazines and books. He is also an ornithologist and coauthor of IUCN’s red list for threatened bird species in Latin America.
For two years he directed the American Bird Conservancy (ABC), an organization in the United States involved in the conservation of birds and their habitats in the American continent. In 2001 he joined WWF-Colombia as ecoregional coordinator for the northern Andes with the objective of integrating conservation efforts in Andean ecosystems in northern Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, and Venezuela. Since 2006, he works as Director of Conservation at WWF-Colombia.
He is the editor in chief of WWF’s Colombia Viva 2017 report, the first publication to showcase a historical review of the transformation of the country’s ecosystems and a detailed examination of the current state of biodiversity and the benefits it provides. He currently writes a weekly column for Semana Sostenible.