Megan “Turtle” Southern, NJP Coordinator
Turtle has been employed by the Northern Jaguar Project since 2007, providing administrative, fundraising, and programmatic support. With a B.A. in Biology from Wittenberg University, Turtle previously worked with the Student Environmental Action Coalition, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, Earth First! Journal, and as membership coordinator for the Center for Biological Diversity. She also documented the Canadian harp seal hunt with the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. Outside of this, Turtle enjoys riding her bicycle short and long distances accompanied by her canine friends.


Randy Young Villegas, Reserve Manager
Randy headshotRandy has a strong connection with the outdoor and ranching communities that dates back to his youth in New Mexico, Cuidad Juarez, and Chihuahua. He has performed construction work since he was old enough to hold a hammer and is a certified auto mechanic. Randy is a sculptor, artist, welder, and blacksmith, and works in cast bronze, stone, wood, and ceramics. As a professional outdoor guide with Wilderness Advanced First Aid certification, he has led groups in Arizona and Sonora for more than a decade. He became the Northern Jaguar Reserve manager in 2015.


Braulio Duarte, Vaquero
Braulio Sr
Braulio is the eldest of Laco’s sons and inherited his father’s work ethic and knowledge. He has an inner drive to work hard as a skilled albañil (handyman) and produces quality results. As a fulltime vaquero on the Northern Jaguar Reserve since 2015, Braulio builds with adobe, wood, and stone, collects rocks to make gabions, and is learning about motion-triggered camera maintenance to assist when needed. Braulio likes to spend time working as a leather artisan, making belts, scabbards, and repairing saddles.


Braulio Duarte, Jr., Vaquero
The younger Braulio became the newest and most enthusiastic addition to our field team in 2017. He rapidly developed the skills to help with motion-triggered camera operation, as well as a passion and knowledge for wildlife. In addition to maintenance and restoration activities, he occasionally helps with biological monitoring. While working on the Northern Jaguar Reserve, he is overcoming his fear of snakes and can now handle non-venomous reptiles, if needed, to move them out of harm’s way. Braulio works in town on his free days, and previously worked for the Mulatos mine planting native species.


Laco Duarte, Vaquero
Laco_1aLaco, who works alongside his sons and grandson, patrols the Northern Jaguar Reserve to keep trespassers out and maintains fences to prevent wandering cattle from coming in. He is a traditional Sonoran cowboy, originally from Arivechi, and worked as the lead vaquero for the reserve’s previous owner since 1982. Laco has seen a jaguar on more than a dozen occasions and knows this terrain better than anyone. He is also a local artisan and makes traditional leather lassos.


Laqui Duarte, Field Assistant and Vaquero
Northern Jaguar Reserve Bird Survey Trip - April 2012Laqui initially was one of our resident vaqueros on the Northern Jaguar Reserve along with his father, brother, and nephew. He has assisted visiting researchers since 2010, with a particular interest studying birds on the reserve. Laqui is fully trained in camera placement and maintenance, and today is responsible for checking motion-triggered cameras on the Northern Jaguar Reserve and Viviendo con Felinos ranches. He also has training in restoration techniques and operating a tractor, and helps with gabion construction and invasive species removal as available. His son, José Ezequiel, participates in our Junior Jaguar Guardian project.


Miguel Gómez Ramírez, Reserve Biologist
Miguel has worked with wildlife conservation projects in Querétaro, Sinaloa, Chihuahua, and Sonora. He enjoys nature photography and loves spending time in the field. Miguel collaborated with Naturalia training the Yaqui indigenous community in the use of camera traps, confirming jaguar presence in the Sierra Bacatete. He also worked with Naturaleza y Cultura Sierra Madre to design a camera monitoring strategy to study jaguars near Alamos. Miguel began working on the Northern Jaguar Reserve in 2008. In 2015, he completed his M.S. from the University of Querétaro focused on ocelot densities on the reserve and Viviendo con Felinos ranches.


Carmina Gutiérrez González, PhD, Reserve Biologist
Carmina received her M.S. in 2008 from the Instituto de Ecología, studying mammalian carnivore communities and camera trapping in arid ecosystems. She particularly likes to work with GIS, landscape ecology, and population dynamics related to carnivore species, and has led camera training for the Yaqui community in the Sierra Bacatete. Carmina was hired on the Northern Jaguar Reserve in 2008, and in 2016, received her Ph.D. from the University of Querétaro based on her jaguar research on the reserve and Viviendo con Felinos ranches. She has participated in jaguar and carnivore projects in Querétaro, Sonora, Sinaloa, Jalisco, and Belize.


Daniela Gutiérrez began her position as the Viviendo con Felinos field technician in March 2011. A biologist from the University of Querétaro, Daniela has participated in jaguar research with Carlos López González in Sonora and Querétaro, research on gray fox in Baja California, and a study of rodents associated with Palo fierro in Sonora. She has a master’s degree in marine ecology from CICESE (Ensenada) where she worked with marine mammals such as the California sea lion, Guadalupe fur seal, gray whale, northern elephant seal, and humpback whale.