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Dr. Linda J. Cayot at Pinzón Island, 1982

Giant Tortoise Crusader, Dr. Linda J. Cayot, Dies

Linda J. Cayot, better known to her friends and family as “Linda”, died September 26, 2022. Linda devoted her entire professional career to conservation of Galapagos tortoise-and iguana species. Linda was awarded a Ph.D. in the study of the ecology and behavior of Galapagos tortoises. She then became a herpetologist at Charles Darwin Research Station where she managed the Giant Tortoise breeding program and assisted with repatriation. Linda was aware that conservation is a complex task and requires dedicated individuals. She spent a lot of her time mentoring young conservationists, particularly Galapaguenos who are leading conservation efforts in Galapagos today. Linda was also instrumental in initiating and managing Project Isabela, which was a complex project to eliminate feral goats (a threat to Giant Tortoises) before she left Galapagos. Linda was a Galapagos Conservancy employee from 2008 to 2008. She became acquainted with many members of the organization through her inspirational presentation on tortoise conservation as well as serving as their guide on cruises. Galapagos Conservancy launched (originally the Giant Tortoise Rehabilitation Initiative), which was a joint effort with Galapagos National Park in order to restore all Galapagos Giant Tortoise population. This continues to this day. Linda retired in 2020, but she continued to work on a book about Galapagos Giant Tortoises. This book was a compilation of all the information available on these beloved animals. Linda’s dedication to Galapagos, its people and its wildlife is evident in the well-being of the tortoises she worked so hard on restoring. Linda’s contribution was undoubtedly significant. To celebrate her life, we will continue to work hard and tirelessly in order to preserve her legacy for Galapagos conservation. We will all be deeply sorry for her loss.

Dr. Linda Cayot with Washington Tapia
Dr. Linda Cayot with Washington Tapia © Galápagos Conservancy