OUR PHILOSOPHY

We are a conservation-minded tour operator that aims to contribute to our understanding of the world’s biodiversity and help to protect biologically rich habitats. As we travel to some of the world’s most significant biodiversity hotspots, we aim to provide local scientists with data and funding through contributions from tour sales and our conservation efforts.

OUR TEAM

Robert Gilson

Founder

Robert is a biologist and naturalist with a love for all things wild. He is an amateur lepidopterist and has spent the last seven years researching the moth fauna of North Carolina. Identifying and protecting regional biodiversity is a core motivator in his work, research, and daily life. Robert loves to share his passion and knowledge of the lepidopteran world with all who will listen and is always eager to increase his understanding of our world’s fauna.

Fredy Montero Abril

Colombia Expert and Guide 

Fredy is a lepidopterist passionate about the fauna of his home country, Colombia. Since 2000 he has researched butterflies in almost every region of the country and some of the best places to find and observe butterflies around the territory. His photographs of live butterflies in their natural habitat enrich several different literary works about butterflies. He has also co-authored several scientific articles describing species previously untreated life cycles in the literature. Since 2012 he has acted as a guide for scientific expeditions, and tourists alike attracted Colombia’s incredible biodiversity.

Robert Gallardo and Oliva Diaz

Honduras Butterfly and Bird Experts and Guides

Robert was born and raised in California and had a passion for nature from an early age, especially butterflies. After graduating from Humboldt State University in 1992 with a degree in Natural Resource Planning and Interpretation, he joined the Peace Corps, served three years in Honduras, and has resided there ever since. He eventually became the country’s leading ornithologist and produced and self-published two bird guides. He also trained the country’s bird watching guides and was the first person to successfully reach out to the highest levels in the Honduran government on the importance of Nature Tourism. He and his partner, Olivia, began working in earnest on a future Guide to the Butterflies of Honduras in early 2016 and have already discovered several new species for science. They reside in their fifty-acre rainforest realm of Emerald Valley, home to over 670 species of butterflies.

Chris Talkington

Wildlife Guide and Driver Extraordinaire

Chris is a naturalist whose primary interests are butterflies, birds, dragonflies, reptiles, and mammals. Raised in Ohio, Chris spent much of his young life banding birds and learning about wildlife from his father. Chris enjoys sharing his enthusiasm and knowledge with others and spending as much time as possible outside enjoying nature.

Alison Smith
Alison Smith
2022-01-21
Just back from the 3rd annual butterfly festival in Honduras. This was my first trip to Central America and I was totally amazed by the country's natural beauty and incredible biodiversity. I will definitely return! The trip was very well organized allowing us to make the most of our time every day. The expertise and knowledge of our guides regarding the local fauna and habitats greatly enhanced our experience and knowledge of the area. Accommodations were modest but clean and in a beautiful natural setting. We could simply walk out the front door in the morning and begin birding. The butterflies were literally right outside our door too. Food was tasty, fresh and well prepared by the staff who clearly wanted us to be pleased. Our experienced guides were very responsive to all of our questions and needs and unfailingly helpful. i believe this was an incredible value for those who want to experience birding and butterflying in a beautiful part of Central America not known for ecotourism. It did my heart good to know there are still places on this planet with such abundance of natural beauty.
matt klein
matt klein
2022-01-19
I just came back from my first butterfly trip, a trip to Honduras. While the butterflies were amazing, what made the trip so special was the care and attention to detail taken by Robert Gilson of Fauna Ventures. Rob is more than just a butterfly expert and enthusiast. He is the full package. He served as a helpful guide, exploring everything from butterflies, to birds, to moths and assisting with IDs. He also was a great tutor and helped with my photography so that I could maximize the experience. And, boy, did I end up with some great shots thanks to Rob’s advice. Rob was patient with all participants on the trip, often giving up “the shot” so that others could get it instead. Finally, he was just a great guy to be around. His knowledge in butterflies is beyond compare but he never made anyone feel like they were out of place, from the novice (me) to those with more experience. You just wanted to learn as much as you could and explore the world of butterflies with Rob. I will definitely be checking out another trip with Fauna Ventures and I am really looking for to it. Thank you for everything.
POSADA DANTAYACO MOCOA
POSADA DANTAYACO MOCOA
2021-12-13
Bill Donohue
Bill Donohue
2020-12-26
Fauna Ventures (Chris and Robert) were great guides for a South Texas Rio Grande butterfly excursion. They are knowledgeable about the topic and, just as important, about the area and local businesses. They were flexible and fun and it was a great time. I highly recommend them.
Sandy
Sandy
2020-12-25
I had such a great time on my 2019 Fauna Ventures trip to the Lower Rio Grande Valley that I went again this year. I’m really glad that I did: it was a fantastic trip! The FV staff thought of everything - even mosquito repellant - that could make our trip one that we would enjoy. Rob and Chris were our guides again this year, and thanks to their sharp eyes and expertise as naturalists, our group saw 107 species of butterflies while we were there. The LRGV is unlike any other site in the US: for those who watch butterflies, it’s heaven on earth! Of the more than 300 butterfly species recorded there, over half are not normally seen elsewhere in the US. It’s hard to imagine just how different each year, and even each day, can be in the LRGV. Because there are so many different places and habitats, being with Rob and Chris really improved our trip experience. They have explored the LRGV extensively and know where to find the specialties. No matter how many butterflies you see in the LRGV, it’s easy to develop a desire to see certain species. So next year I’ll go back again to look for the elusive Xami Hairstreak, Pavon Emperor, Elf and others. And when the pandemic abates, there are new butterflies to see south of the border. I’m looking forward to new Fauna Ventures! Sandy Shaull
Beth Axelrod
Beth Axelrod
2020-12-01
I experienced a most amazing time with Fauna Ventures on trip to RGV in November. Both Rob & Chris really know their stuff and are great guys. I, as a novice butterfly explorer, needed much help in identifying, etc and they were very patient and helpful. The itinerary was full of butterfly habitats, some way off the beaten path. We also spent a good deal of time at the National Butterfly Center where we saw countless types of butterflies and colorful birds in their natural environment. They were very flexible based on what we wanted to see, never felt rushed, no strict timetable so if we were spotting some cool ones, we stayed where we were, even went along with us wanting to see the thousands of bats flying out of the freeway bridge at sunset. I can’t wait till I can go on a trip with them again…until then, I am studying up on species. Secretly hoping they plan a trip to Costa Rica at some point, can’t even imagine how great the butterflying is there. Can’t recommend them highly enough, I travel a lot by myself, and as an older woman, I always felt well taken care of from when they picked us up at the airport till when they dropped us off there again. This was one of the most memorable trips I have taken! Only thing I might do different is bring stronger bug spray!
Ellen Brown
Ellen Brown
2020-03-17
Extraordinary experience in every way. This was my first so the only thing I can compare it to are the tours I took in Europe in the 1970s. Very organized, well researched and planned, thoughtful of every participant. I was most impressed by our guides staying in touch every day throughout the day with other groups in the area in search of particular butterflies.
Rob Van Epps
Rob Van Epps
2020-03-16
I was on the November 2019 Texas Lower Rio Grande Valley butterfly trip. Even with a dry, down year, we saw an amazing number of butterflies (80+ total species), with bonus views of over 100 bird species, several dragonflies, and other wildlife. Leaders Rob & Chris did a fantastic job organizing, entertaining and informing. They were plugged into the local sightings, so we adjusted our schedule as needed to see some real specialties. They even organized a moth night after hours at the National Butterfly Center - a great time for all. Rob & Chris are both accomplished birders and naturalists, so we were able to enjoy other wildlife as well as butterflies (our one cold day became a birding trip that everyone enjoyed). One favorite of the group was Texas Horned Lizard. I highly recommend this trip and this company. Rob V. North Carolina