René is from Puerto Maldonado in southeast Perú, and has worked for conservation and biological research organizations for most of his career. He has assisted with and conducted research on raptors, large cats (pumas and jaguars), amphibians, and numerous tropical plant species. In spite of growing up around primates, 2012 marked his first time studying them. Before getting involved in tropical research and conservation efforts, René worked as a local guide and boat driver for several tourist agencies in Puerto Maldonado. He is an avid birder and photographer, and enjoys motoring around Puerto Maldonado on his bike.