Parks Man Dr. Daan Vreugdenhil

Parks Man Dr. Daan Vreugdenhil

Parks Man Dr. Daan Vreugdenhil founded the Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve, the Cuyabeno Lodge and Parks and Tribes, dedicating his life to conservation and national parks.


Having started his career in 1969 as a project officer of the IYF (now YEE); he dedicated his life to the conservation of nature and is among the world's most experienced conservation ecologists. Besides English, Daan speaks, Dutch, Afrikaans, German, French, Spanish and Portuguese; he has traveled to 85+ countries, many in the context of his work in service of conservation. He has organized and lead National Geographic like scientific expeditions with large teams of scientists into jungles in South America and Africa where no western explorers had gone before, the first one to the Yasuni area en Ecuador  His slogan: CONSERVATIONISTS NEVER GIVE UP!


A practical planner and problem solver, with a PhD from Wageningen University, his career of half a century  includes working for the FAO of the United Nations, The Dutch equivalent of the USA Corps of Engineers, Rijkswaterstaat, Haskoning, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the World Bank, the German Development Organization (GIZ), the USA Development Agency, (USAID), and a variety of other prestigious international institutions. Read about his holistic conservation approach.


Little known to Ecuadorians, he was part of the United Nations team that selected the first 39 protected areas of Ecuador, now 70. The Yasuni National Park and Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve were his prime selections for the Amazon Region of Ecuador. In 1985, he recommended Cuyabeno to be expanded from originally about 150,000 hectares to 590,112 hectares, together with then Cuyabeno director Prof. Dr. Flavio Coello and Parks and Tribes partner. Daan is also the founding father of the Cuyabeno Lodge and co-manager of the Cofan Lodge, owned by Randy Borman MSc and his son Felipe.


Having started ecotourism in 1985 with the Cuyabeno Lodge, he has been the pioneer of ecotourism in Ecuador, long before other tour operators became involved, and he has single-handedly, initiated ecotourism in the northern part of Cuyabeno.


As a national parks conservation expert, Daan has been extremely worried about national parks being underutilized, and thereby lack political interest, which often results in an area being invaded and destroyed. He decided to dedicate the last years of his professional life to the development of national parks tours. After all, with his knowledge of national parks, his broad travel experience and his 30+ years of experience in the ecotourism business, who has more experience in developing great tours to national parks? Read more about his national parks tours in many countries of the world: