Beginning with William Beebe’s research on Mexican birds in 1903, WCS has a long history of conservation in Latin America. The nations of South and Central America and the Caribbean—which span the greatest latitudinal range of any region in the world—are home to a tremendous diversity of wildlife and ecosystems. WCS works across the rich rainforests and cloud forests, tropical islands, sub-Antarctic coastlines, and vast mountain ranges and wetlands of 10 Latin American countries. We partner with national and regional governments, local communities, and other scientific organizations to establish protected areas, promote sustainable livelihoods, and create new advocates for conservation solutions that benefit people and wildlife alike.
Most of the archetypal ecosystems of southern South America are represented in Argentina, from the lonely grandeur of Patagonia to the majestic peaks of the Andes and one of the most turbulent coasts in the world—Tierra del Fuego.
Belize has long been popular with ecotourists for its tropical forests and coastal reefs. Much of the country’s landmass is protected and its forests are believed to harbor the most stable populations of jaguars in Central America.
The central Andean region, encompassing parts of Bolivia and adjacent Peru and Paraguay, is one of the most biologically diverse and threatened areas of the planet, with habitats ranging from cloud forests to dry woodlands and lowland savannas.
Brazil and the Amazon are often considered synonymous, yet the country—the largest in South America—encompasses an array of other ecological zones that make it the most biologically diverse in the world.
Long, narrow and for the most part high, Chile serves as the spine of South America, stretching from the northern Andes to the windswept coastline of Tierra del Fuego, which appears much as it did when Magellan sailed through.
With coastlines on the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, Andean
mountains, and Amazon basins, Colombia’s landscapes are vast and vastly
diverse. The country encompasses mangroves,
snow-capped peaks, grasslands, deserts, and rainforests, and is world-renowned for
its birds, orchids, and butterflies.
Named for its location along the equator, Ecuador is a relatively small country, but ranks among the world's most
The Ecuadorian Amazon provides habitat for the threatened black caiman,
giant river otter, white-lipped peccary, jaguar, and lowland tapir.
Guatemala is a land of extremes. Along with having the highest mountains
and some of the wildest landscapes in Mesoamerica, it is also home to the region's biggest population. In its northern reaches, the Maya Biosphere Reserve protects approximately 6,000 square miles of Guatemalan forest.
Bounded on the west by the
heavy surf of the Pacific and on the east by the Caribbean Sea, Nicaragua’s third coastline is in its center—encompassing the vast,
volcano-adorned Lake Nicaragua. The country's mountainous spine
includes areas where coffee and cattle production
dominate the cloud forests.
The landlocked country of Paraguay represents one of South America’s last frontiers. Its lands span savannas and marshes, semiarid thorn forests, open grasslands and sand dunes, home to guanacos, jaguars, toucans, rheas, and armadillos, among other species.
Peru is in the central Andes, one of the planet’s most biologically diverse and environmentally vulnerable regions, with habitats ranging from dry tropical forests to lowland and mountain rainforests, palm swamps, cloud forests and savannas.