When TFUI knew we wanted to feature the sharks and scientists in the Maldives, we were excited to reach out to The Maldives Whale Shark Research Programme (MWSRP) to highlight not only the beautiful animals but the important science happening in that area of the world.
Thankfully for us, they said yes! And Clara Canovas Perez, the Lead In-Field Coordinator, is one of the people we were lucky enough to interview!
She came Dhigurah, South Ari Atoll in November 2016 to participate in the volunteer programme and three months later a position opened... her dream job!
Dive on in to learn a little bit about this organization, this beautiful area, and the wonderful research done by both scientists and the community alike...
When I visited the Galapagos in 2010, I remember going for a run along the beach with the family I was traveling with. It was the beginning of the sun setting where there was just enough light to run. We stumbled upon a white pickup truck near the beach, lights off, and these four men watched us until we were far enough that they didn't think we saw them get up off their cooler that had a dark color dripping down the sides. We kept our heads down and kept running but I had a sinking feeling in my stomach that something was inherently wrong about that.
Rumors around the town swirled the next day that a pickup truck was caught with a hammerhead in its cooler, the men trying to hack off the fins to illegally sell. I was sickened- how could that happen in the Galapagos?! I never got to confirm that species it was, but I have a pretty good idea it was today's critter.
Before reading the bio of this animal, you may want to brush up on your Sphyrnidae family knowledge.
Done? Fintastic. TFUI wants you to meet one of the most famous and common hammerheads: the Scalloped Hammerhead (Sphyrna lewini). This shark is also known as the bronze, kidney-headed, or southern hammerhead. As a coastal and semi-oceanic animal, they are found globally in coastal warm temperate and tropical seas. Observed all throughout the water column (from the surface and intertidal to at least 275 m deep), you can't confused these animals with any other shark... well, maybe others in the Sphyrnidae family. With a hammer-shaped head and grey color that fades into a snowy white underbelly... not many sharks fit that description! Specifically the head part.
The curious thing about this next shark is that the IUCN states: "A separate species may exist in Southeast Asia, but this needs a much more detailed investigation."
So what animal could we possibly be talking about? The spottail shark (Carcharhinus sorrah)!
TFUI Founder Melissa C. Marquez is author of all animal bios and "Behind the Fins" segments.
SEE MELISSA'S TEDx TALK HERE:
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