El Frío Biological Station
The first biological station in the country, the El Frío Biological Station, became very well known all over the world. It was created thanks to an alliance with the Doñana natural reserve in Spain.
This joint effort originated hundreds of research projects, which brought specialists from many different countries, making the station one of the most studied wetlands on the planet. Also, Alvaro Maldonado initiated an endeavor to rescue the Orinoco caiman, and with it the implementation, by the Venezuelan government, of the Caño Guaritico fauna reserve.
A Master’s degree in Biodiversity was created in association with the Spanish foundation Fundación Carolina, which brought on a visit from the King of Spain to the El Frío ranch. The livestock and environmental practice of the ranch comprised the mancillar of wild cattle, the baloneo of horses, and the making of campechanas [a type of hammock from the Venezuelan plains].
The advancements made during the 1990s made it possible for the station to be declared a biosphere reserve, under Alexander Degwitz’s leadership. Sadly, these accomplishments were diminished following the ranch’s confiscation by the government in 2009.