Felipe’s connection with the Galapagos Archipelago dates back to his great grandparents, who came to the islands in the 1930s. The Wittmer family moved to the island of Floreana and were one of the first families to settle in the Galapagos. Felipe’s grandfather, Rolf Wittmer, was the first registered birth in the archipelago and was also a pioneer in the Ecuadorian tourism industry. Felipe is the part of the third generation of Wittmers in Galapagos and was born on the island of Santa Cruz.
He was raised surrounded by nature and as such developed a deep passion and appreciation for wildlife, which is why he chose to study Biology. He moved to the mainland for his further education and did his bachelor’s degree at the prestigious Universidad San Francisco de Quito. His thesis focused on the genetics of the red spiny lobster in the Galapagos Marine Reserve. This information is vital for the design of a network of marine protected areas.
Felipe enjoys traveling to get to know other cultures and geographies, in particular island countries and protected areas. He feels that this helps him contrast and compare other realities in other archipelagos and National Parks of the world. He particularly likes to combine this with his favorite sport, surf, which is a popular hobby in the Galapagos communities and a great platform from which to educate people about the ocean.
In 2017 he got the opportunity to train with the Galapagos National Park Directorate and become a Galapagos Naturalist Guide, which was a lifelong dream for him due to his family business. The job has allowed him to meet people from all over the world as well as to help with the protection and management of the Galapagos National Park and Marine Reserve.