Dr. Linda Cayot leaves a legacy in Galapagos

Linda first came to Galapagos in 1982 for her Ph.D. to studying the behavior and ecology of the giant tortoises. That year saw one of the strongest El Niño event on record, turning her fieldwork into a daily struggle against rain, mud and fire ants. But that didn’t stop Linda, who was passionate about her work.

After obtaining her Ph.D. Linda returned to Galapagos as a herpetologist at the Charles Darwin Research Station, and supervised the captive breeding and rearing programs of giant tortoises and land iguanas. In 1998, she became involved in Project Isabela, the very successful program that led to the eradication of goats and pigs from several islands. She also worked on the eradication of rats on the island of Pinzon, leading finally to the natural hatching of tortoises there.

Linda was not only dedicated to science but understood the importance of environmental stewardship. She helped the Galapagos National Park shape two management plans and developed the methodology to calculate the carrying capacity of the Galapagos visitor sites, based on a methodology developed by Miguel Cifuentes.

Caseta Linda J. Cayot, name given by the park rangers of the Galapagos National Park to a cabin located on Isabela Island.
Caseta Linda J. Cayot, name given by the park rangers of the Galapagos National Park to a cabin located on Isabela Island.

Linda also dedicated her time to developing young conservationists, especially Galapagueños, many of whom are now leading conservation efforts in the Galapagos.

She was unconditionally devoted to Galapagos, to conservation and giant tortoises and a beloved colleague and friend to many.

Eliecer Cruz, Wacho Tapia, Robert Bensted-Smith, Felipe Cruz, Marc Patry and Linda, at Alcedo Base Camp, Isabela Island, 1998.

Linda has and will continue to inspire us every day to fight for the conservation of Galapagos wildlife. Linda Cayot was an inspirational person, she dedicated so much of her time to the Galapagos, to both its wildlife and people, to say that she will be missed is an understatement.

Her legacy will always be remembered and forever present.

May our great friend and companion rest in peace, we will always remember you fondly.

The ‘Charles Darwin Foundation for the Galapagos Islands’, in French ‘Fondacion Charles Darwin  pour les Iles Galapagos’, Association Internationale sans but lucrative (AISBL), has its registered office at Avenue Louise 54, 1050 Brussels, Belgium. Trade Registry # 0409.359.103

© 2022 Charles Darwin Foundation. All rights reserved.