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August 12, 2018
We are saddened to report that Felipe Cruz, who worked passionately and tirelessly for the conservation of Galapagos for more than four decades, passed away in Chile on August 9, 2018. He was 60 years old.
In his early twenties, Felipe began work on a project to protect the Galapagos petrels nesting on Floreana Island, where he was born. Over the years, he held many different positions with the Charles Darwin Foundation (CDF) and the Galapagos National Park Directorate (GNPD). Galapagos Conservancy staff worked most closely with him when he directed Project Isabela, from 1998 to 2006. He led this massive, multi-million-dollar project to a successful conclusion, eradicating goats and donkeys from northern Isabela and Santiago, as well as eliminating the goat population on Pinta. The current ecosystem restoration efforts on these islands grew out of these successes.
Cruz was born on Floreana Island on April 22, 1958, one of 12 siblings – many of whom have played important roles in Galapagos. His sister Marilyn Cruz currently heads the Galapagos Biosecurity Agency, one of our primary collaborators, responsible for protecting the Islands from invasive species. GC staff also worked often with his brother, Eliecer Cruz, in his roles as director of the Galapagos National Park, director of WWF-Ecuador, and Minister of the Galapagos Governing Council.
GC’s Giant Tortoise Restoration Initiative personnel – Linda Cayot and Wacho Tapia – worked closely with Felipe on many past projects at both the CDF and the GNPD. Upon his death, Linda said, “I cannot imagine this world without Felipe Cruz in it. His passion for and dedication to Galapagos were contagious. He was a close friend and will be missed.”
Photo © Diego Bermeo