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Marti the Hammerhead Shark
08/03/2019 Education and outreach

Introducing ‘Marti the Hammerhead Shark’

We're launching a crowdfunder to raise money for our first ever children's educational storybook: Marti the Hammerhead Shark.

Photograph of Beth Byrne

Beth Byrne

Former Communications & Marketing Officer at Galapagos Conservation Trust

Why is this project important?

Wildlife enthusiasts around the world will be keenly aware of the unique biodiversity and abundance of marine life found in the Galapagos Islands. Lesser known, however, are the dangers facing the various species that live there, many of which are endemic to the Archipelago.

Perhaps one of the more well-known species found in the waters surrounding the Islands is the scalloped hammerhead shark. Although they are one of the animals at the top of the food chain, they are facing a persistent threat in the form of overfishing. Their numbers have been reducing rapidly in recent years due to increasing commercial fishing interest driven by the popularity of shark fin soup. While steps have been taken to address this problem, such as the expansion of the Galapagos Marine Reserve (GMR), more needs to be done to protect these unique animals once they leave the protection of the GMR.

To help support the long-term protection of the endangered sharks of Galapagos, we have developed a children’s storybook to increase awareness of the dangers facing the species. It is inspired by the proposed formation of a protected ‘swimway’ in the waters between Galapagos and Cocos Island, a common migratory route for a number of endangered marine species. We hope that educational initiatives such as these will help promote interest in conservation efforts within the Archipelago. This is especially important in Galapagos as an estimated 90% of children living there have never visited the Galapagos National Park, which makes up 97% of the Islands.

Scalloped hammerhead sharks in Galapagos
Scalloped hammerhead sharks in Galapagos © Simon Pierce

90 %

of children living in Galapagos have never visited the National Park

Our task is to help develop children’s understanding of the environmental threats facing Galapagos.

We hope to achieve this through our latest educational project: the Galapagos Storybook. The storybook offers a fun, engaging and informative way for children to gain awareness of the issues facing the Islands. It follows the journey of Marti, a hammerhead shark, from her nursery in the mangroves of San Cristobal island, Galapagos to Cocos Island, Costa Rica. Marti has been tagged by scientists, allowing her journey through the swimway to be followed. Along the way, she encounters industrial fishing boats, seeing first-hand the damage that they can do to marine life. Though managing to navigate these dangers during her journey, Marti’s unfortunate experience with fishing trawlers draws attention to the issues facing marine life in and around the Galapagos Islands. The story gives children the opportunity to develop an understanding of the impact commercial fishing has on marine life in the waters surrounding Galapagos.

The book’s colourful illustrations, coupled with its exciting storyline, will be engaging to children in our target age group of 6 – 10 years and is also an accessible way for older family members to learn about the science going on in Galapagos. We believe this will help to develop both children’s and their family members’ understanding of, and interest in, the challenges facing marine life in Galapagos and how we can work to protect it.

The main characters from our storybook 'Marti the Hammerhead Shark'

We have set up a Crowdfunding campaign to support the production and distribution of the storybook in Galapagos. All proceeds from the Crowdfunder will go towards an initial printing run of 2,000 copies and will help cover the cost of printing, design and postage together with other set-up costs. We are aiming to donate a pack of 30 books, posters and lesson activities to every school in Galapagos. The storybook will also be printed in English in the UK.

Marti the Hammerhead Shark

Buy the book!

Following a successful crowdfunding campaign, Marti the Hammerhead Shark is available to purchase from our shop.

Shop now

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