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Maria Elena Barragán-Paladines, M.S., is a passionate biologist interested about reptiles and amphibians, especially venomous snakes. She has a degree in Biology in Ecuador, a diploma in Management of Endangered Species from the University of Kent, United Kingdom, and a Master's Degree in Environment and Education for Sustainability in Brisbane, Australia. Involved in herpetology for 28 years, Maria has worked on various reptile and amphibian conservation projects, and measures toward the prevention and reduction of the impact of venomous snakes on human health. With wide training and experience in the snake captive management, conservation, management and treatment of snake-bite accidents, she has carried out research on the toxicology of venoms of viperids and elapids. She has also designed, coordinated and worked in programs of conservation and environmental education about reptiles and amphibians and she has also had the opportunity to work with several indigenous communities in Oceania, Africa, Canada and Ecuador. Maria is currently the Executive Director of the Gustavo Orces Herpetological Foundation and she is part of the institution's technical team. Maria’s efforts and vision of working with reptiles trust on education as a fundamental tool to implement concrete actions toward the conservation of venomous snakes, animals which are widely associated with a long history of cultural negativity.

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