Hammerhead shark nursery discovered in Galapagos Islands

Quito, Dec 16 (EFE).- A third nursery of scalloped hammerhead sharks (Sphyrna lewini) has been found in Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands, the Galapagos National Park administration said Friday.

The spot was identified by park staff in conjunction with scientists from the environment ministry and Quito’s Universidad San Francisco during an expedition to the island of Isabela.

“The discovery of these new nurseries is very important, especially for the hammerhead shark, because it is an iconic species for the Galapagos, but is in critical danger of extinction,” park ranger Eduardo Espinoza said.

“With this information we got these nurseries included in the list of important areas for the preservation of sharks, which is a new category of protection of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature,” he said.

The researchers make monthly visits to the nurseries to keep track of the number of young and collect other data to map the sharks’ migration routes.

The park’s Shark Monitoring Program is supported by the Galapagos Conservancy and the Save Our Seas Foundation.

The archipelago – which consists of 13 major islands, six smaller islands and scores of islets and rocks – was made famous by 19th-century British naturalist Charles Darwin, whose observations of life on the islands inspired him to develop his theory about evolution, natural selection and the origin of species.

Located in the Pacific Ocean about 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) off the coast of mainland Ecuador, the islands are home to more than 7,000 endemic and native species, many of them found nowhere else on the planet. EFE fgg/dr

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