Scientific expeditions with the Malpelo Foundation
What’s the latest news from the Malpelo foundation?
In the summer of 2018, as part of its conservation project in partnership with Nausicaá, the Malpelo Foundation led a scientific expedition to the Malpelo Fauna and Flora Sanctuary. The objective of this expedition was to monitor the state of biodiversity in the Marine Park and to protect it.
Under close supervision
During the expedition, the research teams focussed on 7 areas around the island.
Over the course of a month, five research groups travelled through the vast Malpelo Marine Park, located 500 km off the Colombian coast, to collect data on the park’s biodiversity and monitor its evolution, and in particular, the status of the hard corals and fish that are specific to the region.
The Malpelo Foundation managed to take tissue samples from 4 species of sharks and rays, the aim of which included gaining further knowledge on the biology of these species and to be able to identify them.
The Foundation also managed to tag and photograph 3 whale sharks in order to follow and study their movements.
The collected data will be analysed in order to implement conservation actions to protect Malpelo’s exceptional biodiversity.
Sharks and rays are vulnerable to fishing methods that overexploit them. If their numbers drop, it causes an imbalance that weakens the ecosystem.
Preserving them is therefore a priority.
This is a very long-term project: while the conservation process in this area began as early as 1999, it has only been possible to see the results since 2013. The situation is improving mainly due to the extension of the marine park, intensified protection and surveillance of the island, and the significant reduction in illegal fishing.
As such, after this expedition, the analyses conducted by the Malpelo Foundation prove that the protection provided by the Malpelo Fauna and Flora Sanctuary has allowed the populations of these species to recover, with some of them even taking up residence there!
However, the researchers reiterate the importance of continuing these efforts, particularly in the face of the threat that is still posed by illegal fishing. One of the Malpelo Foundation’s priorities is to identify the nursery areas of hammerhead sharks.
Malpelo is one of the last places in the world where schools of hammerhead sharks can be seen.
Meet Sandra Bessudo!
To find out more about the Malpelo Foundation and its conservation initiatives, come to Nausicaá at 7 p.m. on Tuesday 26 March 2019 and meet Sandra Bessudo, director of the Malpelo Foundation, who has strived to defend this Colombian islet.
To find out more and book your seat, please click here.
Crédit photos bandeau : Renaud Herbert