S1 Ep3 - Experiencing the Galápagos Islands with Tui De Roy and Lee Ehmke

Nature photographer and lifelong Galápagos resident Tui De Roy Photo courtesy of Tui De Roy; © Tui De Roy

The Galápagos Islands are one of the few places where visitors can get a glimpse of what the world was like before humans existed. The unique wildlife, active volcanoes, and rich undersea world has made them a haven for ecotourism. In this episode, we get two very different perspectives on what it’s like to experience the Galápagos Islands.

First, Scott speaks with nature photographer Tui De Roy, who has spent a lifetime in Galápagos. Her family moved to the island of Santa Cruz in 1955 when she was just two years old. As a child, she picked up a camera and began photographing the animals she grew up with. What began as a hobby blossomed into a career that has taken her around the world, and yet the Galápagos remain her home as well as one of her favorite subjects. Tui’s perspective as a lifelong resident of the Galápagos Islands adds a personal touch to her photos that allow us to briefly glimpse this magical place the way she does.

Next, we get a behind-the-scenes sneak preview of the Houston Zoo’s new Galápagos Islands exhibit from Houston Zoo President and CEO Lee Ehmke. The exhibit, which is scheduled to open to the public on April 7, 2023, will be the only one of its kind in the world. Scott and Lee tour the exhibit and then sit down to discuss how the exhibit was designed, what visitors will experience, and why encounters with animals like those found in the Galápagos Islands are often so profoundly impactful. 

Behind the scenes at the Houston Zoo's Galápagos Islands exhibit still under construction

  Image courtesy of the Houston Zoo; © Houston Zoo

Artist's rendering of Sea Lion Tunnel at the Houston Zoo's Galápagos Islands Exhibit

Image courtesy of the Houston Zoo; © Houston Zoo

Tui De Roy’s websites: http://www.galapagosconsultant.com & https://www.tuideroy.com     

Tui De Roy’s latest books: “A Pocket Guide to Birds of Galápagos” and “A Lifetime in Galápagos” are available from Princeton University Press. 

The Houston Zoo’s Galápagos Islands exhibit opens on April 7, 2023. 

The Houston Zoo: https://www.houstonzoo.org 

For more information about efforts to protect and restore the Galápagos Islands, visit The Galápagos Conservancy’s website: https://www.galapagos.org 

This episode of Wild World was produced with support from: 

Lindblad Expeditions: https://www.expeditions.com    

The Rice University Traveling Owls: https://alumni.rice.edu/travelingowls 

Blue-footed boobies

Photo by Tui De Roy; © Tui De Roy

Marine iguanas and Sally Lightfoot Crabs

Photo by Tui De Roy; © Tui De Roy

Galápagos Sea Lions

Photo by Tui De Roy; © Tui De Roy