Feeding plums to giant tortoises by hand? Having warblers fly through your house? That was the life of Valentina Cruz. Valentina grew up surrounded by nature, but perhaps more accurately, she grew up in nature. I think when a child grows up seeing wild wonders every day, they grow up respecting and protecting nature and wildlife. Valentina and her siblings certainly did.
She grew up to be a biologist and naturalist guide. She was surrounded by a loving family—her parents and eleven brothers and sisters. Of course, keeping tortoises as pets is not allowed today. Valentina loves nature, home, and family, but has the soul of an adventurer. When I grew up I yearned to see as much of the world as possible.
Jean is 3rd to right in front. I am 4th. It was on that trip that I met Valentina, one of our naturalist guides. With her, we visited Floreana and saw the home where she grew up. I was enamored. Over months and years, Valentina generously shared her stories with me. Valentina showing us the lay of the land. Who can blame her? But in , she changed her mind.
Emma sailed to Floreana with Eliecer to build a life together. Valentina and her father on Floreana. Valentina, her mother, and her sister. Floreana tortoise had long been extinct or so it was thought. So when Eliecer moved to Floreana, his friend gave him young tortoises from other islands. Eventually, the family released the tortoises to roam free.
One of the most exciting things that happened to Valentina as a child was seeing the tortoises return to their farm that first year after their release. The main reason was the tasty plums dropping from the trees. Every year after that, when the plums ripened, the family waited for the tortoises to return. They always did!
Our memory is like pictures of what impresses us in that specific moment, so everything can be true and everything can be fiction. Regarding the exciting discovery on Wolf Volcano, scientists recently found tortoises there that carry some of the Floreana tortoise genes!
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