(SHARKS) Wildlife officials recently reported a shark massacre in the Malpelo Wildlife Sanctuary in Columbia’s Pacific waters after an approximate 2,000 hammerhead, Galapagos, and whale sharks were found dead with their fins cut off. Investigators believe the slaughter may be a result of illegal Costa Rican fishing boats. While this is particularly bad news because the massacre occurred in a marine sanctuary, it is just one part of a problem that decimates 40 million sharks a year. Read on for details regarding Columbia’s efforts to solve this problem. — Global Animal
A school of scalloped hammerhead sharks, Cocos Island National Park, Costa Rica. Photo Credit: Jeffrey Rotman/Corbis

NY Daily News, Priyanka Parode

Environmental authorities reported a massive shark massacre in the Malpelo Wildlife Sanctuary in Colombia’s Pacific waters.

Some 2,000 hammerhead, Galapagos and whale sharks were found dead with their fins hacked off.

The finless shark carcasses were found on the ocean bed by a Russian team of divers who had come to study the large concentration of the ocean predators in Malpelo.

After the divers spotted 10 illegal fishing boats flying Costa Rican flags in the region near the massacre, they notified the Colombian government.

“When the divers dove, they started finding a large number of animals without their fins. They didn’t see any alive,” Sandra Bessudo, Columbia’s top environmental advisor, told London’s The Guardian.

The navy dispatched teams to seize an Ecuadoran fishing boat which was hauling 660 pounds of illegal catch, including sharks.

Colombia has also reportedly taken up the issue with Costa Rica to come up with a joint solution to the illegal fishing.

“We have already contacted the Costa Rican foreign ministry to inform them of the investigation and keep them up to date on its progress, so that together we can clear up what happened as soon as possible,” a government official told Inside Costa Rica.

Malpelo has been known to house numerous hammerhead and silky sharks, making it a popular shark-diving location. It is also one of the only places in the world where the rare Smalltooth sand tiger shark has been spotted.