Young hammerhead sharks, new research


This video is called Shark Academy: Scalloped Hammerhead Sharks.

From Wildlife Extra:

Endangered juvenile sharks migrate into unprotected waters

The movements of a young female Hammerhead Shark have been tracked for the first time, revealing vulnerable gaps in the present protection plans.

Hammerhead Sharks are listed as threatened with the IUCN and numbers have declined by more than 90 percent in some parts of the world, particularly Scalloped Hammerhead sharks, found in the Gulf of California, Mexico.

These are susceptible to being caught by fishing nets while moving into the open sea, but little information exists on their exact movements, especially those of juvenile sharks as they go through the critical period of adolescence.

Current protection plans prohibit commercial fishing from large vessels within 50 nautical miles of the coast. However, findings from this study reveals the young sharks venture into the open seas to fish, meaning they are still vulnerable to being caught in fishing nets.

Researchers from the Centro Interdisciplinario de Ciencias Marinas, Mexico and the University of California, Davis, USA tagged three live juvenile hammerhead sharks in Mexico’s Gulf of California so they could be tracked through adolescence.

The results of one of these tags, which was downloaded after fishermen caught one of the sharks, revealed the female shark travelled 3,350 km, and helped pinpoint potential key sites needing protection.

She was found to swim within a school of fellow hammerheads at an offshore island during the day, but migrated away at night, diving to greater depths to feed on fish and squid, sometimes as deep as 270m.

This behaviour, the scientists believe, maximises her foraging opportunities and continuing growth, and partially explains the early migration of this juvenile female to off-shore waters for richer food. Scalloped Hammerhead Shark pups have high metabolic rates and as they grow older require higher ration levels to fulfil their energetic needs.

Study author Mauricio Hoyos from Pelagios Kakunjá (a Mexican NGO) said “The key to protecting this species is detecting their nursery grounds and protecting them in their more vulnerable stages. This is the first time ever that we have an idea of the behaviour of this life stage in this zone and this information will be important to design management plans to protect this species in Mexico.”

The research suggests that juvenile female hammerheads are trading off the risks of greater exposure to predators in the open sea, with better food sourcing opportunities.

However their ventures to the open sea means current management measures for sharks set by the Mexican government may not be sufficient for the conservation of this species.

This new information highlights hammerhead sharks may still be in danger, due to their use of both coastal and offshore waters during early life stages. The researchers say that coastal nursery grounds and offshore refuge areas for scalloped hammerheads are therefore critical habitats where protected marine reserves should be sited.

Study author James Ketchum from Pelagios Kakunjá (a Mexican NGO) said: “For the first time, we’ve seen the shift from a coastal-inhabiting juvenile to a migratory adolescent that remains mostly offshore in order to maximise growth and reproductive potential. Because of their dependence on both coastal and offshore waters during their early life-stages, we think that they may be more susceptible to fisheries than previously thought, and current protective measures in Mexico may unfortunately be insufficient.”

New Marine Protected Area in Bangladesh


This video from the USA about Mexico is called Marine Protected Areas: A Success Story – Perspectives on Ocean Science.

From Wildlife Extra:

First ever Marine Protected Area for Bangladesh

Bangladesh has created its first marine protected area that will now safeguard whales, dolphins, sea turtles, sharks, and other oceanic species.

Bordering the territorial waters of India, the Swatch of No Ground Marine Protected Area (SoNG MPA) spans some 672 square miles (1,738 square kilometres and is more than 900 meters deep.

The waters are home to large numbers of Irrawaddy Dolphins, Finless Porpoises, Pacific Humpback Dolphins, Indo-Pacific Bottlenose Dolphins, Pantropical Spotted Dolphins, Spinner Dolphins, and what may be a resident population of Bryde’s Whales.

“The SoNG MPA supports an astonishing diversity of dolphins, porpoises and whales including species in need of immediate protection,” said Rubaiyat Mansur of the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Bangladesh Cetacean Diversity Project.

“Declaration of Bangladesh’s first Marine Protected Area shows our country’s commitment to saving its natural resources and wonders.”

The Wildlife Conservation Society’s Bangladesh Cetacean Diversity Project has worked along with the Government of Bangladesh since 2004 to ensure the long-term protection of the cetaceans (whales, dolphins, and porpoises) in waters of Bangladesh through collaborative efforts with local communities.

“Marine protected areas that conserve cetaceans and other marine life are extremely important steps in saving vital marine ecosystems that support hundreds of thousands of people,” said Dr. Howard Rosenbaum, Director of the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Ocean Giants Program. “Safeguarding these species and natural resources will become even more important in the years to come, particularly due to the challenges of climate change.”

Mexican cloud forest reserve gets bigger


This video from Mexico says about itself:

Roberto Pedraza, Grupo Ecológico Sierra Gorda

World Land Trust (WLT) partner organisations give an insight into the conservation work they carry out to protect some of the most threatened habitats and wildlife on Earth.

From Wildlife Extra:

Chilean cloud forest reserve extended

A reserve in Sierra Gorda in Chile has been extended by 103 acres thanks to funding from the Buy an Acre fund of World Land Trust (WLT).

I think there is a mistake in the Wildlife Extra text here. The cloud forest reserve is in Mexico, not in Chile.

The purchased area of cloud forest lies on the southern border of the Cerro Prieto-Cerro la Luz, a reserve which is owned and managed by WLT’s conservation partner in Mexico, Grupo Ecológico Sierra Gorda (GESG).

The extension will help protect a wide range of species including big cats such as pumas and jaguars, as well as amphibians such as tree frogs.

The purchase also means previous plans to build a road across the property cannot now go ahead, which helps protect the area from loggers.

Roberto Pedraza, GESG’s Technical Officer, explains: “With this new purchase we can completely block that road and without that road the loggers can’t take the timber out from our area.”

Prior to the purchase timber was being extracted and loggers were making roof shingles out of old growth cedars. That activity has now stopped thanks to the presence of GESG rangers.

Good Guatemalan birds and amphibians news update


This video says about itself:

A singing male Pink-headed Warbler, Ergaticus (formerly Cardellina) versicolor, at the roadside edge of a large forest patch on the Ocosingo Highway in Chiapas, Mexico, on March 21, 2014.

From Wildlife Extra:

An important lagoon and montane forest property in Guatemala is purchased by conservation charity

Thanks to a donation from Puro Coffee the World Land Trust has the funds to help their partner Fundación Para el Ecodesarrollo y la Conservación (FUNDAECO) purchase Laguna Brava in western Guatemala.

The property measures 1,186 acres (480 hectares), with the lake (Yolnabaj) takes up just under half the area of the property. The remainder is made up of some of the last remnants of the region’s montane tropical karst forest on the northern, southern and eastern side of the lake.

It supports many rare species including amphibians and birds and is home to three species of tree frog that are listed as Critically Endangered by IUCN, as well Lincoln’s Climbing Salamander, which is registered as Near Threatened.

The forest surrounding the lagoon hosts 72 different bird species including the Highlands Guan (Penelopina nigra), and the Pink-headed Warbler (Ergaticus versicolor), both registered by IUCN as Vulnerable.

“FUNDAECO’s determination to create this reserve, which forms the first protected reserve in the region, will help many previously unprotected but Critically Endangered species,” said Charlotte Beckham, WLT’s Conservation Programmes Co-ordinator.

Read all about the conservation charity World Land Trust and the work it does HERE.

Great white shark research in Mexico, video


This video says about itself:

7 August 2014

In 2013, a team from the Oceanographic Systems Lab at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution took a specially equipped REMUS “SharkCam” underwater vehicle to Guadalupe Island in Mexico to film great white sharks in the wild. The[y] captured more than they bargained for.