Light beams piercing the warm dark water attract thick swarms of zooplankton. These abundant food sources in turn attract a swirling ballet of some of the ocean’s largest dancers - the coastal Manta Ray. Each Manta has an individual personality and a unique pattern on their abdomen. Along with natural identifiers, we see different deformations caused by human interference. Fishing lines and nets lead to entanglement scars and damaged or missing fins, and careless boating and overcrowded ecotourism can leave gashes in their skin. Mantas are covered in a mucus which protects from infection, but overzealous touching can strip away this protective immune system so Passive Interaction is the best way to view these amazing creatures. I’m volunteering with a great organization - Manta Advocates Hawaii - which helps to educate and collaborate with ecotourism companies and scientific minds to maintain a Do No Harm policy so everyone can enjoy the beauty of a healthy ocean.
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