The Deep is working with Equipe Cousteau on a pioneering tagging and monitoring programme to safeguard the future of Manta rays in the Red Sea.
In 2013 staff from The Deep completed the first trip to Sudan to protect one of the ocean’s most endangered species, the Manta ray. Working in partnership with Equipe Cousteau, scientists from the University of Windsor (Canada) and the Wildlife Conservation General Administration in Sudan, they successfully tagged 22 Manta rays with satellite and acoustic tags and placed 40 sea-bed monitors along 130km of coast. Vital data is being gathered on their population size, movements and feeding habits in previously unstudied areas of the Red Sea. This is the first time scientists have been deployed in this area since the 1960’s to carry out pioneering field research to help safeguard the rays’ future and support the development of marine protected areas.
Your generous donations are vital for purchasing the cutting edge and specialist technology that make this research possible. The money also goes towards providing capacity building workshops and training in the use of the telemetry equipment for Red Sea University staff, their students and the Marine Wildlife Protection Officers in the field. Together with Darwin Initiative funding, our visitors have made this project a truly global conservation programme!
When our aquarists return for phase two, UAV’s (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) will be deployed to monitor and survey the Manta populations. This technology will allow the scientists to search for the rays in the tagging programme, help locate more untagged rays and to study surface water slicks along which the Manta have been seen to converge. Manta rays feed on microscopic organisms, filtering them from the water through specialised plates in their gills, plankton sampling in these areas may provide a clue as to why rays are found along these water current boundaries. It is important to not only protect the species, but also its habitat and potential food sources.
If you wish to make a donation simply drop change into our wishing well on your next visit or donate online via our Just Giving page.