Maldives Manta Conservation Program confirms 1,000 oceanic manta rays in Maldivian waters

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Maldives Manta Conservation Programme (MMCP), the Manta Trust’s flagship project, confirms the 1,000th individual oceanic manta ray sighting. This makes the Maldives home to the world’s third largest population of the species. The manta was dubbed ‘Anbu’.

The RahVeshi Programme, an initiative established at MMCP in 2022, has been studying mantas in the Maldives since 2005 but has archives going back to 1996. Citizen scientists and local scuba diving centers have also contributed data for the research. Nearly 85% of the manta sightings were from Fuvahmulah Atoll.

“Unlike other oceanic manta ray aggregation sites, there is limited feeding, cleaning or courtship behavior observed,” says Fath-hee, the RahVeshi Programme Coordinator, who believes the rays may be transiting through because they are usually seen for only a day or two and re-sighting rates are low.  “Where they are coming from and where they are going is still a mystery.”