We are delighted to support projects around the World with ground-breaking conservation and innovative research projects. Over the past 3 years, we have supported the Galapagos Conservation Trust to carry out vital research into shark nursery grounds in the Galapagos Marine Reserve, using state-of-the-art drone technology to collect data. The project has come to an end now, so read on to explore the exciting findings…

The Galapagos Marine Reserve, a 133,000km2 protected area, is famously home to the highest abundance of sharks anywhere in the World. There are several coastal mangrove lagoon sites around the Galapagos Islands that have been identified as putative nursery grounds, of the critically endangered Scalloped Hammerhead Shark, and the vulnerable, Blacktip Shark. However, despite this, they are not uniquely considered as nursery grounds during zoning of human activities, and therefore both tourist and local fishing boats visit the sites. Sadly, the use of mullet bait nets by fishers often results in the mortality of young sharks.

We supported the Galapagos Conservation Trust to deliver vital research to help establish ‘true’ nursery sites around the island of San Cristobal, and ultimately ensure they can be better protected. We are delighted that this research culminated in the discovery of the first Scalloped Hammerhead Shark Nursery Ground in the Galapagos, which is excellent news for this critically endangered species!

Photo credit: Simon Pierce

As well as identifying which sites within the Galapagos Marine Reserve are the most important for the two shark species, they were able to demonstrate that drones offer more accurate abundance counts, and are an excellent tool for longer-term monitoring, all helping to inform future recommendations for protection and monitoring.

To read more about the endangered sharks of the Galapagos and all the great work the Galapagos Conservation Trust are doing to protect them click here.

Keep an eye out for the next exciting project that we will be supporting the Galapagos Conservation Trust with!

If you want to support more exciting conservation projects then you can donate below…