Daniela Vilema

Since I was a kid, I have enjoyed being surrounded by nature. I always loved going to the beach, and collecting shells on the shore was one of my favourite activities. Then when I started scuba diving, I became aware of the wonderful life that exists underwater. I will never forget the first time I saw a hammerhead shark while diving in the Galápagos Islands; it was amazing to watch this shark coming closer, gently moving its strange head. That was when I realised how marvellous and special these animals are. Soon afterwards, I got involved in a project to develop an educational campaign about the whale shark. After that, and after watching other shark species close up, I began to wonder how I could make people feel as curious about sharks as I felt and how I might involve them in the adventure of discovering and learning about sharks.

I now live on Ecuador’s Galápagos Islands and I am an environmental communicator for the Charles Darwin Foundation. The foundation is an international not-for-profit scientific organisation that has been working in the Galápagos since 1959 and its research has been key for the conservation of the archipelago.