Scientists have recently discovered a nursery for endangered scalloped hammerhead sharks in the Galápagos Islands.
The natural breeding site for the endangered species was found on the coast of Santa Cruz Island – one of the main islands in the archipelago – in November, and has seen researchers return to the area to study and tag sharks for conservation purposes.
Scalloped hammerheads give birth to their pups in litters of 30 or more in the area, leaving the young sharks in this sheltered food-rich environment for up to two years before they progress to adulthood and are ready to move into the open ocean. This species of shark can live up to 30 years.
Scalloped hammerhead sharks are listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species because of ‘overfishing and illegal capture,’ according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.
The government of Ecuador established a sanctuary zone in 2016 where no fishing is allowed to help protect the species.
Image: Stock photo of hammerhead shark