Massive Manta Rays: Beautiful, Majestic, and at Risk (Video)

When I was in Tahiti I had the opportunity to dive with huge Manta Rays, we also have rays out here in the Hawaiian Islands. As much as I have seen and experienced their majesty and beauty, I didn’t know too much about them before this video.

Jose Campos/ Vimeo

Manta Rays are huge, and can be 20 to 25 feet wide and weight as much as 3,000 pounds. (Screenshot/Jose Campos/ Vimeo)

There are some really alarming facts I learned. It took millions of years for Mantas to develop the way they have. Us humans have depleted the Manta populations by 50 percent over the last 75 years. That’s basically due to lack of global protection and awareness.

Mantas have simply been over fished. However, they’re more valuable alive. Revenue from a live ray for tourism can be worth as much as a million dollars.

Jose Campos/Vimeo

Manta Rays are very gentle, they won’t hurt a human if you swim close by, but humans can damage the protective layer on their skin by touching it. (Screenshot/Jose Campos/Vimeo)

These marine animals have recently been classified as ‘vulnerable’. Because rays have very few young, unregulated fishing of Mantas is creating major population problems.

Though some areas are legally protecting rays, inconsistencies worldwide add to areas where regulation are lax or non existent.

Jose Campos/Vimeo

Manta Rays are the third largest species in the ocean, after whales and sharks. (Screenshot/Jose Campos/Vimeo)

The makers of this video are from Project Aware which is helping to protect mantas through a variety of wildlife conservation agreements. If you want to help visit their page and lend a hand!

Research by Wei.

 

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