Thursday, April 9, 2020

H is for Hammerhead sharks (Folktales of Endangered Species)

Welcome to the 2020 A to Z blogging challenge! This year my theme is Folktales of Endangered Species. I am researching cool traditional stories about rare, fascinating animals - to raise awareness of what we might lose if we don't get our collective shit together. Enjoy!

Species: Hammerhead sharks (Sphyrnidae)

Status: Their nine species range from Vulnerable to Critically Endangered (Great hammerhead)

The brothers' escape
Pacific island legend*

Bakoa (a deity whose name means Shark) married twice. From his first wife he had many children: all the fish in the world. From his second wife he had two sons: Taburimai (Man) and Te-anoi (Hammerhead Shark). The fish got jealous of Taburimai because he looked so different from them, and had a secret meeting where they decided to kill and eat him. However, Te-anoi went to his father and revealed the plan. With a heavy heart, Bakoa decided that his human son should flee to safety, and asked Te-anoi to help him escape.
The next day before dawn the father woke up Te-anoi first, and told him where to travel. Then he woke up Taburimai, and said goodbye to his sons. Te-anoi told his brother to sit on his back and hold on to his hammerhead. He swam swiftly towards the east, following the eastern star. They traveled thus until they reached Samoa. There Taburimai went to shore, and said goodbye to his brother.
Te-anoi continued his journey until he reached the eastern sky, and swam upwards until he became a constellation. That constellation is till known as Te-anoi (the last five stars in the tail of Scorpio). Taburimai traveled a lot between the islands, and had many children.

*The source of the story is noted as "from Nui, an island of the Ellice group [Tuvalu] with a Gilbertese [Kiribati] population"

Sources: Read the story here or here.

How can I help?
You can adopt a hammerhead shark through the WWF here. Read about conservation efforts here and here. Read about Kiribati's shark sanctuary here.

If you could pick a shark brother (or sister), what kind of a shark would it be?


  1. Maybe I should adopt one - my mother's aunt caught one while she was fishing in Florida about oh, 90 years ago...

  2. The hammerhead shark is such an amazing looking being.

  3. That's a wonderful myth about a beautiful sea creature.

  4. Rooting for the Hammerhead Shark. Thank you Zalka for sharing. What a beautiful legend on the shark and man. How sad that we have forgotten all about our brothers from the ocean. Donor to WWF and volunteer worker since 1997, I fully appreciate the long road we need to travel to reconnect with our origins and save Earth’s endangered species, 300 becoming extinct every day. Fully on board if you need any sharing, re-blogging. Simply give me the heads up first, so I know you’re ok with it. Please continue to inspire us with your posts. Take care, stay safe.

  5. Another wonderful tale, Zalka. The Hammerheads have a sort of quietly regal presence about them.

  6. Beautiful and poignant. Loved the tale today.

  7. How amazingly lovely. Simply loved it. What a wonderful idea it has been to compile these tales. I'm enjoying them so much.

  8. That is such a lovely story - family bonds between those who are incredibly different - there's a lesson there. If I had a shark sibling I think I would want a whale shark - large and gentle.
    Tasha đź’–
    Virginia's Parlour - The Manor (Adult concepts - nothing explicit in posts)
    Tasha's Thinkings - Vampire Drabbles

  9. Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam - from the Sanskrit meaning all the world is one family. It's telling how all our ancestral peoples realised this and repeated this lesson again and again...

  10. My daughter has always loved sharks, from the time she was little. She was homeschooled, so we studied sharks more than one time! As for a shark relative? Not sure I'd trust it! The black tip reef sharks are pretty. And the leopard and tigers too. Hammerheads are fascinating, if a bit odd! Maybe one with mermaid's purses rather than live births. Mermaid's purses are amazing, especially when you can see the little shark or manta inside!

  11. I love Hammerhead Shark, beautiful fishes. Lovely tale

  12. Wow, this is such a fascinating tale! I would totally love to have a hammerhead as my shark brother!

  13. Fascinating! Thanks for the facts! See you tomorrow!

  14. Sad and beautiful story. With that tale in mind, I'd choose a hammerhead sibling.

  15. I love this one. So poetic. And for some reason, I have alwasy a soft spot for brothers who love each others.

    The Old Shelter - Living the Twenties