Neues zu Ernst Schäfer in Rancho Grande

During the years 1931-1932 and 1934-1936, Ernst Schäfer, a young German student with an unusual interest in, and knowledge about, biology and zoology, and with a great ability as a marksman, was invited to join two scientific expeditions to the Far East. Both expeditions were organized by Brooke Dolan II1 for the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia. These two expeditions collected many important scientific samples to enhance the collections of the Academy. The research done with the material brought back by the two expeditions shed new light on the fauna of the regions visited. From 1938 to 1939 Schäfer organized and directed his own expedition to Sikkim and Tibet. This multidisciplinary expedition was the first one to the region that was composed solely of German scientists. These expeditions gave such fame and prestige to Schäfer that he became known in his country as Tibet Schäfer (Pedro Trebbau, personal communication). In January 1950, Ernst Schäfer was responsible for the establishment of a scientific research station at a site known as Rancho Grande inside the Aragua National Park in Venezuela2. It was at the highest point along the road that connects the towns of El Limón and Ocumare de la Costa. The building was named “The Biological Station and Museum of Flora and Fauna Henri Pittier,” and Dr. Ernst Schäfer was appointed as its founder and first Director.

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