Researchers from the University of Costa Rica (UCR) made the first sighting of a newborn tiger shark in the area of Isla del Coco. Along with him, in addition, potentially pregnant females of the same species were detected. This translates into good news as the site could be turning into a birthing area.
In addition, the study would be bringing new lights on a species little studied and that it was thought used Cocos Island only for migration and not for reproduction. According to experts, among other factors could be intervening good quality and quantity of food, as well as the variety of habitats.
Deep bays and caves are some of the favorable conditions that the species would consider to reproduce in the region. While the majority of shark species are in decline on Cocos Island, the tiger shark population is increasing, due to its possible reproduction and resistance to adverse conditions.
Finding the baby
The recording of the neonate tiger shark was made in October 2020 and is now known with advances in research. To capture it, underwater video stations were set up with bait to attract the species.
The animal in question was listed as newborn because of the conical shape of its head. In addition, due to its robust body and disproportionate fins with respect to body size. The conditions of the females captured by the camera suggest the presence of pregnant female sharks.
Is this good news?
Although it is early for some conclusions, experts anticipate that there are special warnings regarding the fauna of Cocos Island. “The fact of thinking of Isla del Coco, not only as a space for food and pass, but also as a breeding site for tiger sharks, it could generat a series of repercussions on the ecosystem, as it is a great natural predator”, assured the marine biologist, Marta Cambra.
For scientists, it is too early to consider whether the reproduction of the species has positive or negative impacts on the island’s marine ecosystem. Of course, early identification of the area as a potential breeding area is fundamental for planning the conservation of the species.
“It has an impact on the ecosystem because it is one of the most important shark species large. And we can say that it is one of those predators that are at the top of the food chain, which is why we call it a control predator of other species”, confirmed biologist Mario Espinoza Mendiola.