It’s not every day that you catch a hammerhead shark and then deliver its babies.
But that’s exactly what Florida shark fishers did last weekend, with one woman, Ashley Travis, catching the operation on video.
The video, which Travis, 24, posted to Facebook on May 4, has since received more than 9,000 shares and 5,000 likes.
Travis’ friend, Devon Fritch, had hooked the 12-foot shark late Saturday night off the coast of Venice, Florida, and it took more than two hours to wrestle to shore. Once they had pulled the hammerhead onto the beach, they saw she was pregnant and that her belly had been bitten by another shark.
“Out of the bite mark we could see the little babies, the little pups, we could see them moving around inside of her, ” Travis told Newsday by phone.
“We can’t let these babies die,” she said of the group’s motivation.
Another friend, Noe Campos, then took charge of delivering the shark pups, digging shoulder-deep into the body of the dying mother, as captured in the video.
In the end, Campos and his group delivered more than 20 baby hammerheads on the beach, setting them free in the ocean. Travis’ video captures a handful of the sharks’ birth.
“It was life-changing,” Travis said. “I’ve never seen anything giving birth before.”
She noted that her group of shark fishers is focused on preservation, and that they always catch and release.
Watch Travis’ video on her Facebook page. (Warning: The video contains profanity and graphic images.)