You’ve probably heard of the huge winged fish called a manta ray, but other than that, most of us are completely in the dark about the details that make them such a precious and fascinating wonder of nature.
In fact, until recently, scientists knew so little about this creature that they had to list it as “insufficient data” when trying to establish if it needed protected status!
Today at Ever Widening Circles (EWC), we’ll learn what there is to know and witness the grace, beauty and good nature of these giants of the sea, and we’ll celebrate the work of more EWC Thought-Leaders: the amazing people around the world involved in studying and protecting Mantas. It’s a fabulous conservation story.
Let’s get started with an extraordinary video made by a conservation group on the cutting edge of saving wildlife around the world: Wild Aid. (More about them in a few minutes!)
Get ready to relax and be mesmerized. I felt my heart rate slow a bit and tension drop away while just watching this first video:
That was so lovely and powerful that I had to look into the work of Wild Aid. Turns out they have become a powerful voice around the globe against the illegal trade in wildlife products like ivory, rhino horns, shark fins, and other endangered animal contraband.
What’s really cool is the unrivaled following of celebrities and media partners who are championing this cause: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jane Goodall, Yao Ming, Carmelo Anthony, Kate Hudson, Harrison Ford, Sir Richard Branson, and Jackie Chan to name only a few. With those kinds of backers, Wild Aid has effectively leveraged nearly $200 million in annual pro-bono media support.
They calculate that their message now reaches up to 1 billion people every week.
This will make a difference, and it’s something we like to celebrate here at Ever Widening Circles (EWC)!
In this next video, we learn about a phenomenon that attracts hundreds of giant manta rays, described as a feeding frenzy, but looking far more like a water ballet.
Wonderful information there! I look at this fellow’s commitment and think, “Some people are just so awesome.” I know it sounds a bit corny, but it’s true!
Here’s something we’ve learned after writing over 1000 articles for EWC about people leading our world forward: for every bad person featured on the nightly news, there are countless great folks, quietly making the world a better place.
We are so lucky to live in a time when people like this can exercise their passions, doing the work for all of us, so that generations will know these gentle giants exist.
Now let’s meet Guy Stevens, Tom Peschak’s co-founder at the Manta Trust. He will deepen our appreciation for just how gentle these huge creatures are:
Gentle and intelligent by the looks of it!
Here’s one last video to close, just to round out the cast of great characters who are putting efforts into saving mantas. This piece demonstrates the partnership between great organizations like The Manta Trust and the National Geographic Society’s efforts to use critter cam technology in research.
Here’s Joshua Stewart, Associate Director of the Manta Trust, telling us about a unique new way to study wildlife behavior:
Wonderful bit of insight there!
So there you have it folks. Tick off the fact that you now have a solid knowledge base about one of our planet’s most precious natural wonders.
Where do we fit in?
It’s easy to read an article like this and just sigh with a little contentment. It’s a great feeling to realize there are special people out there working on the front lines to make the world a little better place. But we can have a hand in helping change the world too!
It’s easy to read an article like this and just sigh with a little contentment. It’s a great feeling to realize there are special people out there working on the front lines to make the world a little better place. But we can have a hand
in helping change the world too!
It all counts. Every single action taken, adds up to creating change.
If the wonders in today’s article have inspired you, get involved. If you have kids, get them involved. You can follow these people regularly (their websites and FaceBook pages are great!!) You can help them by lobbying for change, become an ambassador for them in your community, do a fundraiser, and even travel to help them do research!
Organizations that are as good as these have many ways for you to plug into the momentum they are generating. Check out the websites at the Manta Trust and WildAid and see where you might help. I’m sure they would love to hear from you!
Stay open, curious and optimistic!
~ Dr. Lynda
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- “The Secret World of Manta and Mobula Rays.” YouTube. Manta Trust, 21 Jan. 2014. Web. 12 Feb. 2017. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uX37fOdOM6g>. ↩
- “Feeding Frenzy: Manta Rays in the Maldives | National Geographic.” YouTube. National Geographic, 06 July 2009. Web. 12 Feb. 2017. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yihoIvUBDM4>. ↩
- “Project Manta – An Amazing Encounter.” YouTube. Manta Trust, 18 Mar. 2012. Web. 12 Feb. 2017. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z7MYDtfSWjs>. ↩
- “These Giant Manta Rays Just Want to Hang Out | Expedition Raw.” YouTube. National Geographic, 08 Sept. 2016. Web. 12 Feb. 2017. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FQe8KnYqQ1w>. ↩