July 29, 2021

They mark five hammerhead sharks in Galapagos to study their movements



Technicians from the Directorate of the Galapagos National Park have placed acoustic marks on five juvenile hammerhead sharks that are going to leave the breeding area of ​​this species, in the northwest of Santa Cruz Island.

In a project of the organizations Migramar and Ocean Blue Tree, the marks have been introduced by incision in the abdomen of the animals so that they are subjected to electronic monitoring for a decade, and to be able to study all their movements.

“It will allow to collect information on the migratory patterns of this species throughout the Eastern Pacific when they pass through the receivers,” says a statement from the Directorate.

Migramar’s network of receivers extends throughout the Pacific from the coast of the United States to that of Chile, and includes other protected areas such as Cocos Island in Costa Rica, Malpelo in Colombia and Coiba in Panama.

Eduardo Espinoza, park ranger responsible for the activity, said that these animals, after leaving the breeding area, “travel through other islands of the archipelago or even surround the East Pacific.”

Hammerhead sharks are species protected by international treaties and are among the red list of endangered species of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

In Galapagos, shark capture is prohibited, however the threat of fishing is regional.

The technicians consider that in the coming months they will begin to receive the information transmitted by the marks placed and know what the displacement of the five animals is.

Intervened sharks exceed one year of age and are 70 centimeters long.

The insertion of the acoustic mark takes up to 5 minutes, at which time the animal receives continuous flow of water through the gills to ensure its breathing.

The information provided by electronic devices helps to understand the importance of hammerhead shark breeding areas discovered in Galapagos since 2018.

A vital information for the conservation of the species at regional level.

“Until now we had used external brands to know what happens with juvenile sharks while they are in the breeding areas; but now, through acoustic marks we can know what these species do when they leave their safe places,” concludes the press.

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