Giant Rays Reserve Set Up in Indonesia

26.02.2014

Area of the world's largest reserve of giant stingrays manta will be nearly six million square kilometers (though the total area of island's controlled waters is about eight million square kilometers). Giant stingrays hunting is forbidden on this territory. Instead it will be a special place for manta tourism, which is a kind of diving aimed at contemplating stingrays in wild nature. Thus each ray will bring up to two million dollars to the country's economy due to tourism, while a murdered manta is priced about five hundred dollars.

Giant (pictured) and reef manta rays - very vulnerable creation and watching them is a pleasure

Territorial waters of Indonesia are a habitation of two rays species: giant and reef manta ray. Past ten years the population of the first one decreased by 57%, and the second one – by 33%. There are several reasons. First, rays are used in traditional Chinese medicine, from 900 to 1300 individuals per year are hunted. And second, giant rays have a very slow reproductive cycle: female gives birth to one or two cubs every two years and pregnancy lasts for one year. Stingrays attract divers all around the world – rays in wild bature can be seen off the coast of the Maldives, the Philippines and Mozambique. And the Indonesian officials hope that governments of these countries will follow them in protection of giant and reef manta rays.