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Jorge Saliva, 1963 - 2012

Susan Elbin

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On behalf of the Waterbird Society as well as his sisters and brothers in the 'Joanna Burger family' - it is with a sad and grieving heart that I report to you that Jorge Saliva died this morning in Puerto Rico. Jorge embraced life with a kind spirit, a quest for knowledge, and a tremendous sense of humor. Jorge, you are dearly missed!



(obituary reprinted from USFWS)



Jorge Enrique Saliva-González, PhD.

February 21, 1963 - July 23, 2012



July, 23, 2012- An accomplished ornithologist and wildlife expert, Jorge Enrique Saliva, died today, July 23, 2012 at the age of 49. Caribbean sea bird expert, Jorge Saliva, spent over two decades as a Wildlife Biologist with the US Fish and Wildlife Service. He joined the Caribbean Ecological Services Field Office, when it was known as the Boquerón Field Office in 1990. He was a passionate individual, actively promoting conservation of fish and wildlife resources, particularly sea birds, migratory shorebirds, neotropical migrant birds and marine mammals. His lifework allowed him to make valuable contributions to the conservation of many threatened and endangered species such as the Brown Pelican, Piping Plover, Puerto Rican Plain Pigeon, Broad-winged Hawk, Sharp-shinned Hawk, Yellow-shouldered Blackbird, the Antillean manatee, endangered plants and wildlife in general.




He also listed and designated critical habitat for the coqui guajón, and the plant cobana negra. He was a prolific scientist with over 25 professional publications that are recognized today as primary reference in the field of wildlife conservation. He was currently contributing with the Puerto Rico Climate Change Working Group in the development of a Climate Change Adaptation Strategy for Puerto Rico.


He was loved and admired by everyone with whom he interacted for his precise analysis, and prankster sense of humor. He was a passionate human being, who fully enjoyed diving in open waters, weight lifting, racquetball, trekking and exploring nature. His knowledge and love for nature and conservation was a key asset to the Service, especially when he interpreted nature during presentations, interviews, nature walks and other educational activities.


For 15 years he conducted aerial surveys and telemetry for the Antillean Manatee. He was an early supporter for the rehabilitation and rescue of manatees conducted by the Service, Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources, the Caribbean Stranding Network (known today as the Puerto Rico Center for Manatee Conservation) and the Puerto Rico Zoo.


His most significant work was devoted to the study and conservation of the roseate tern, conducting over 20 years of uninterrupted census and nesting surveys. The information gathered through his research, allowed the Service to develop a Recovery Plan and long-term recovery strategies for the roseate tern in the US Caribbean, wider Caribbean and the Northeast Region of the United States.

For the brown pelican, he collaborated with other recognized species experts by conducting aerial surveys, and nesting surveys since the 1990’s. He actively promoted conservation for the most important Pelican breeding colonies in Vieques and Guánica. He worked on predator eradication initiatives to safeguard the breeding habitat for the species in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. He was also involved in the response to the Deep-water Horizon Oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico by participating in aerial surveys to identify injured wildlife and helped develop the Natural Resources Damage Assessment for this incident.


Most recently Jorge authored the 90-day finding for the Black-capped Petrel, and as a recognized FWS expert was providing technical assistance to Deep-water Horizon restoration planning effort.


Dr. Saliva graduated from the University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez Campus with a Bachelor’s degree in Biology. He completed a Master’s and Doctoral degree in ecology and evolution from Rutgers, the State University, in New Brunswick, New Jersey. He was a member of the American Ornithologists Union, Association of Field Ornithologists, Waterbird Society, Cooper Ornithological Society, Society of Caribbean Ornithology, Sociedad Ornitológical de Puerto Rico, Caribbean Stranding Network and the Interagency Oceanaria Group.


Jorge will be deeply missed by the ornithological community.

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