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Global Ideas

Majestic manta rays enjoy protection in parts of Mozambique

With manta ray populations earmarked for the Chinese medical market, their protection has never been more critical. A marine biologist in Mozambique is working to raise awareness of these mighty sea creatures.

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Project goal: The protection of maritime megafauna, especially vulnerable listed species such as manta rays, dugongs and whale sharks. Combining the financial survival of local populations with biodiversity protection

Implementation: Research, maritime megafauna stocktaking, monitoring, training rangers and scouts in the national park

Size: Bazaruto Archipelago National Park, situated in the Inhambane province on and along the coast of Vilanculos and Inhassoro districts. The park covers a large expanse of ocean as well as the five islands in the archipelago with an area of 1430 square kilometers

Volume: 24 park rangers financed by the Mozambique government. Maritime research conducted by the Marine Megafauna Foundation in the Bazaruto Archipelago National Park

Biological diversity: The archipelago is a breeding ground for many large fish and mammals. It is rich in plankton and offers protection. Both giant manta rays and reef manta rays can be found here, which is extremely unusual.

Spotty, Sprinkle and Speckles are just some of the names marine biologist Andrea Marshall has given her manta rays. She can tell them apart by the patterns on their bellies. Discovered off the coast of Mozambique, they are threatened by gillnet fishing and demand from the Chinese medical market for their gill rakers. Against that backdrop, she is training rangers based in the protected area of Bazaruto Archipelago National Park to appreciate and protect these mysterious, majestic sea creatures.

A film by Vanessa Fischer

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