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Last Updated: Monday, 10 July 2006, 11:42 GMT 12:42 UK
RAF pilot in shark diving mission
Hammerhead shark
Satellite tags will be used to track hammerhead sharks
An RAF Lossiemouth pilot fresh from active service in Iraq is to join another dangerous mission code-named Exercise Jurassic Shark.

Tornado pilot Matt Palmer is to take part in a UK military expedition in the Cocos islands off the coast of Costa Rica to track hammerhead sharks.

The team will dive extremely close to the sharks, which will be electronically tagged and then tracked.

It is hoped the work will help pinpoint areas for conservation work.

Mr Palmer said the hammerheads would be tagged while they were free swimming.

"We will have a couple of 're-breathers', which are quite technical diving appliances, in order for us to get very close to the sharks without them hearing us," he said.

'Trance state'

The team will wait for the sharks to swim alongside a "cleaning station" where they will move in slowly to tag them.

He explained: "The shark goes into a cleaning station to be cleaned by all the little animals and while he's in there he goes into a semi-trance - just as you would if you lie in the bath I guess.

"We're hoping to sneak upon him while he's in that trance state and attach satellite tags to him."

The evidence gathered by the team will help determine the migratory route of the hammerheads and highlight areas of the world were they need most protection.


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