Aura Banda Cruz

Galápagos Researcher
My name is Aura and I have been living in the Galápagos Islands since 2005. My mother was born on the island of Floreana and I have always kept a special love for this unique place that my grandparents chose as home decades ago. I studied photography and I’m currently finishing a degree in Environmental Management. I have worked as a licensed Naturalist Guide in the Galápagos National Park since 2006. Trying to put together my two passions for my thesis, nature and photography, I got to learn more about the Center for Ecosystem Sentinels and the important work of Dr. Dee Boersma.

Galápagos penguins have been continuous models for my photos. They are charismatic, interesting, beautiful birds and I will even say they are photogenic. But now, knowing how important these images can be to learn more about them I have a new motivation, so I have been photographing penguins on monthly bases for almost two years. I have asked for help of naturalists and photographer colleagues of mine to join me on this endeavor. We go to many of their nesting sites on a regular basis during our trips and have a unique opportunity to help to gather valuable information through photography and citizen science.

Among the best rewards of this project is that I have been able to identified eight penguins on three different islands and now I follow their stories. They can tell us a lot and I think we should all listen to the penguins.

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