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FarSouthExp at iGoTerra
FarSouthExp @ Fat Birder / WAND

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Rodrigo Tapia Rodrigo Tapia, Far South Expeditions Tour Leaders and Guides

Rodrigo started his long-time love relationship with birds when he became an avid birder by the age of 10, and has been observing, studying and learning about them for more than 30 years now, first by birding in many different environments from the seaside to the Andes mountains around his home patch, acquiring in the process a good deal of field experience with virtually all the birds of central Chile including most chilean endemics, and later expanding his voyages to the rest of the country. This early passion naturally evolved into his career and led him into studying Biology at Universidad Católica de Valparaíso and further studying with Cornell Lab of Ornithology

He has explored Chile's whole length from the northern Altiplano to Cape Horn while conducting ornithological research and guiding groups of birders since 1989. He studied the birds in the wetlands of the Aconcagua river and Mantagua for three years, gathering experience with shorebirds, plovers, waders and coastal seabirds. Rodrigo travelled to Antarctica for the first time in 1991 as part of a research team conducting studies on antarctic penguins, and later worked for eight seasons in the White Continent as an expedition leader, lecturer and zodiac driver on board a couple of vessels. These years of sailing across the Drake Passage, together with the experience gathered in pelagic birding off his hometown of Valparaíso in the Pacific coast of central Chile gave him hundreds of hours with albatrosses, petrels and other seabirds, a group of birds which has always captivated him.

Member of the Chilean Ornithologists Union, he has worked as a birding guide, as an independent researcher, and as a birding consultant and guide instructor for several nature-oriented hotels and lodges. He´s also interested in bird photography. Rodrigo has been involved in several environmental education projects with children, imparted workshops and lectured about birds and birding, and has worked to try and get the public attention on birds, their knowledge and conservation, and birdwatching as a sustainable economic activity. In this context he was the mind behind Festival de Aves de Chile, in 2008, the first ever bird festival in Chile, an event that is still celebrated every year in the city of Viña del Mar and has spurred the apparition of similar bird-centered community events throughout the country. He started guiding birding tours and pelagics in central Chile for Far South Expeditions in 2006 and currently works for us as a full-time birding, wildlife and wildlife photo trip leader and writer since 2012 when he moved to Punta Arenas. 

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Sebastian Saiter, Far South Expeditions Tour Leaders and Guides

Sebastian Saiter

Sebastian is a Punta Arenas-born naturalist and birder. Since childhood years he showed a passion for discovering Nature and exploring the imposing landscapes of Chilean Patagonia. Consequently he studied Adventure Tourism, becoming involved in the topic and studying about the flora & fauna of one of the last pristine places in the world. Sebastián has a particular interest on the natural history of the birds in Patagonia, patagonian endemics and wildlife photography, having become a specialist in the Avian life of Patagonia and collaborating with bird pictures in a number of conservation and birwatching publications. He is an active member of NGO Agrupacion Ecologica Patagonica in Punta Arenas, involved in projects to protect wetlands, urban parks and other interesting sites and reserves in the city. It is through this entity that he works on environmental education projects with children, in both private and public schools in the area. 

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Claudio F. Vidal, Far South Expeditions Tour Leaders and GuidesClaudio F. Vidal 

Claudio has been exploring and birding since the age of 12 and currently leads birding / nature tours and photo safaris throughout Patagonia, Chile and South America. He is one of the two founders and original driving forces behind the far South Expeditions concept and company. 

Claudio has a particular interest in the seabirds and marine mammals occurring in the Humboldt Current, Patagonia and Antarctica. Botany is also one of his greatest passions, leading him to devote to the photographic documentation of wildflowers of desert and Mediterranean regions of the world, of which he possesses a vast archive. 

Claudio is now finishing the writing of a Field Guide to the Birds of Chile together with a team of accomplished field ornithologists, and is co-author of more than 20 books, including the acclaimed 'Birds of Patagonia, Tierra del Fuego and Antarctic Peninsula'. 

He is actively involved in several ecotourism projects in Chile and is founding partner of Far South Expeditions since 1997. He lives in Punta Arenas. 

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Enrique Couve, Far South Expeditions Tour Leaders and GuidesEnrique Couve 

Enrique is an Industrial Engineer by profession, although a field naturalist by true passion. One of the two founders and original driving forces behind the Far South Expeditions concept and company, he has been birding and studying the natural history of Chile for more than 45 years. 

He is co-author of more than 20 publications on the natural heritage of Chile and Patagonia, and among his published works is the praised 'Birds of Patagonia, Tierra del Fuego and Antarctic Peninsula'. Enrique is a very gifted field spotter, and he uses this skill on his nature photography work, as he has one of the most complete and extensive files on the flora and fauna of the country. 

Enrique has extensively travelled throughout Chile and South America, its oceanic islands and Antarctica. He is the main author of an upcoming and long-awaited Field Guide to the Birds of Chile, now in its final completing stages. He is a skilled puma tracker and a pioneer of puma trips in Patagonia. 

He is founding partner and manager of Far South Expeditions and lives in Punta Arenas with his wife Cecilia. 

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Ana Maria Venegas, Far South Expeditions Tour Leaders & GuidesAna Maria Venegas

Ana María is a forestry engineer (University of Chile) and obtained her M.S. in Wildlife Ecology (University of Wisconsin-Madison). She has been working with birds since 2001. She has been involved in several conservation projects, including a study of the population dynamics of the critically endangered Chilean Woodstar in Northern Chile.  Ana María helped to establish the banding system in Chile and she has been a certified NABC bander since 2011, when she spent several months training at Long Point Bird Observatory (Ontario, Canada). For her graduate research, she studied the effects of extreme weather events on bird productivity in the northeastern United States. Currently, she lives in Santiago where she works as an independent consultant and researcher. Ana María is a member of the Directorate of the Chilean Ornithologists Union. In her free time, she enjoys outdoor activities such as gardening, biking, camping and hiking. She also likes knitting, cooking and spending time with her family and friends.

 
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Diego Araya, Far South Expeditions Tour Leaders and GuidesDiego Araya 

Diego has always been passionate about nature and wildlife. While studying Marine Biology he began to explore photography in search of intimacy and complicity with animals. Once he got his college degree, and after some travelling around Europe and North America, he found a job with the national Park Service in Chile running projects related to ecotourism and conservation. In 2004 he left his professional achievements and urban conveniences behind to live in Patagonia in pursuit of his long-life dream and to be one with nature. Over the years he has managed to create one of the finest and most complete professional photography archives of Patagonian wildlife together with becoming one of the most qualified residents in tracking, approximation and photography of the fauna in the region. He also found Wildpatagonia Nature Photography, a small company that organize photographic expeditions, publish nature books and field guides and produce outdoor clothing. He guides many photo safaris tours for his company and others, including Far South Expeditions. In 2009 he published Patagonia 237, his first book. A 300 pages, big format coffee table book financed by Nikon Chile. In 2010 he started working as expedition staff and zodiac driver on board the Antarctic Dream, accumulating over 100 days in Antarctica experience. At the moment he is an independent wildlife photographer, Photo Safari guide, and is working on several editorial and tourism projects under his company, Wildpatagonia. 

 
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Marcelo Flores, Far South Expeditions Tour Leaders and GuidesMarcelo Flores 

Marcelo is celebrated Chilean photographer and naturalist, marine biologist, and seabird and marine mammal enthusiast. Marcelo has a vast field experience leading and conducting research projects throughout Chile and Antarctica.

He is currently finishing his Ph.D. thesis on Medicine for Wildlife Conservation, especifically on assessing the impact of introduced species on the native birdlife of distant Easter Island or Rapa Nui, and looking for measurements to mitigate this serious threat on the already depauperate biodiversity of this isolated territory.

When he is not busy, either carrying out field research or doing classes at the University, he enjoys leading birding and nature photography tours throughout Chile, a land he knows as the palm of his hand.

 
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Marcelo de Cruz, Far South Expeditions Tour Leaders and GuidesMarcelo de Cruz 

Marcelo began his career as a naturalist and birdwatcher at the age of 22. After finishing his studies in tourism in Buenos Aires, he moved to Tierra del Fuego in 1991. Since then, he has explored every corner of the island and built up a wealth of knowledge about its unique wildlife. He has developed a special ability to find any species of bird, even the rarest ones. He can also list the names of nearly every living creature that inhabits the Magellanic forests, steppes, high mountains or sea shores of Tierra del Fuego, and cooperates with the National Park Administration for the development of a sustainable tourism strategy. He lives in Ushuaia with his wife, Paula, and his daughter.