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Global Ideas

A stay of execution for Peru's manta ray

One of the largest populations of giant manta rays in the world lives off the northern coast of Peru. Kerstin Forsberg wants to protect them - with the help of the local fishermen.

Watch video 06:04

Gentle giants: Peru's manta rays

Project goal: The nongovernmental organization Planeta Océano is trying to change the way Peruvian communities perceive of manta rays - in particular their potential value as high-profile tourist attractions that make them worth a great deal more alive than dead to Peru's many coastal fishing communities.
Project partner: Planeta Océano
Biodiversity: With more than 500 marine species, the tropical marine ecosystems in northern Peru support the country's greatest marine biodiversity, and are home to more than 650 giant mantas - one of the world's largest regional populations.

With a fin-span of up to 7 meters (23 feet), giant manta rays majestically glide through the ocean off the coast of Peru. But their populations have declined dramatically over the past 20 years.

Peruvian environmentalist Kerstin Forsberg has been fighting for the animals since 2012 - and thanks to her efforts, the Peruvian government has granted the species protected status.

But that was just the beginning: now she is pleading her case in the local fishing villages.

A film by Bianca Kopsch

 

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