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Diego Amorocho/WWF Colombia
Diego Amorocho/WWF Colombia
A newly tagged hammerhead shark swims free near San Cristobal, Galapagos Islands, where it is tracked by satellite

Playing satellite tag in the Galapagos

Added to Stories from the Field on 18 March 2018
Luis, Johan and Bec are members of a WWF hammerhead shark tagging expedition in the eastern Pacific Ocean, and to date, have mostly played tag with the other researchers. But the three are not shirking their responsibilities, nor are they ordinary expedition members. They are the actual sharks that are transmitting their movements for scientific study.

 Luis, Johan and Bec are the focus of WWF Colombia and partners, who have started a project to satellite tag hammerhead sharks off San Cristobal, one of the Galapagos Islands. Between 29 November and 5 December 2017, the first expedition of the project "Saving the Eastern Pacific Sharks" caught the sharks and tagged them to study their migratory movements. The hammerheads will provide better insights into their behavior and connectivity with other protected areas in the region.

“Together with our partner researchers we are working to understand the routes and threats that these sharks face during their long journeys,” said Dr. Diego Amorocho, a Species Program Coordinator at WWF-Colombia. “The goal is to start and implement better management and conservation practices in the Eastern Pacific Ocean.”


WWF/Colombia                                                               Scale: 10 KM I___I
WWF/Colombia Scale: 10 KM I___I
The tagging enables satellite tracing of the three sharks' movements, seen here near San Cristobal
Diego Amorocho/WWF Colombia
Diego Amorocho/WWF Colombia
The WWF’s Dr. Diego Amorocho (center) during the shark-tagging expedition. Dr. Alex Hearn is seated at the far left

 Joining Diego on this venture are fellow researchers Alex Hearn, a shark specialist at the San Francisco University of Quito, and Andrés Navia, Director, Squalus Foundation. The expedition is in partnership with the Galapagos Science Center and Manuel Yepes (SkyShark), and is contributing to studies carried out by the Galapagos National Park. The project is partially funded by the Family Gray Foundation of Canada with the support of WWF Canada. Diego’s next hammerhead-tagging mission is scheduled for December 2018.

The Galapagos are an archipelago of volcanic islands near the equator in the Pacific Ocean approximately 900 kilometers west of continental Ecuador, to which the isles belong. The positions and movements of Luis (169785), Bec (169788) and Johan (169789) can be seen in the map above. 

About the contributor:

Diego Amorocho is a Species Program Coordinator at WWF-Colombia. He is a biologist from Pontificia Universidad Javeriana with a Ph.D from Monash University, and a M.Sc. from the Australian National University. Diego was previously Executive Director at Research Center for Environmental Management and Development.




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