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Searching for the Hammer Shark in Galapagos

The hammer sharks are the emblematic specie of Galapagos Marine Reserve; however, they are part of the threatened species, according to the Red List of the World Union for the Nature (UICN).

With acoustic radars in the dorsal fins, scientists try to decipher the migratory movements of the hammer shark, one of the threatened species of the Galapagos. The singular form of its head accused them. To few distance meters the marine investigators of the Scientific Station Charles Darwin identified hammer sharks in waters of the Ecuadorian archipelago.

The mission was not easy. They had to place in the dorsal fins of the fish acoustic radar to follow their rake and this way to know where exactly they live and they reproduce and feed. Dresses with diving suits and with out oxygen tank, the biologists dove in search of these marine predators, those that maintain the balance in the ecosystem and have stayed in this habitat for more than 450 million years almost with out changing This project of monitoring the movements of the hammer shark in Galapagos, gathered the efforts of scientific of the Charles Darwin Foundation, Galapagos Nationa Park l (PNG) and of non-government organizations as International Conservation and the University of Stanford in California. Also, the plan sinks to other similar ones executed before in the island of Malpelo (Colombia), recently declared Natural Patrimony; and in the island of the Coconut (Costa Rica).

The hammer sharks are the emblematic specie of Galapagos Marine Reserve; however, they are part of the threatened species, according to the Red List of the World Union for the Nature (UICN). In the sea, the plungers usually find dead sharks without fins. In the ten days of the expedition for the project, the biologists went to islands like Darwin and Wolf, where the presence of these sharks is more frequent, to apply the radars. As part of this project, some radar was applied to some whale sharks and marine turtles. International conservation, for example, in Ecuador it contributed with 15 thousand dollars for the acoustic radars (it cost 300 dollars each one), while the PNG and Charles Darwin Foundation collaborated with the boat, the expenses of the trip and the whole personnel.

In total, about $ 50.000 US dollars have been invested in the project in the whole region. It is important to extend this project to the entire marine region because the species use this area as a natural corridor. The Corridor is an international ecological initiative that gathers the support of environmental donors to conserve the marine resources of four countries: Panama, Costa Rica, Colombia and Ecuador, this last one was pioneer of the creation of the same one, but until today it is the only one that has not confirmed their participation. Besides knowing if there is interrelation among species of one and another country, this project will determine in what places there is bigger abundance of sharks, what will benefit to the diving tourism. For the fishing sector, it will also be important. For example, if it is detected that a shark spends nine months in Galapagos and it travels fifteen days to Malpelo and stays thereFeature Articles, that means that it would not be necessary the protection of the sea among these two places.

Article Tags: Hammer Shark, Charles Darwin

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Eric Castro Mattas chief editor of Posicionarte in Quito, Ecuador.



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