Here Are the Best Places to Find Manta Rays in the Philippines
Any scuba diving plans coming up? This might be something that might interest you: according to a study by the Large Marine Vertebrates Research Institute Philippines (LAMAVE), we are fortunate to have quite the population in our waters. They've already identified the hotspots for such, too.
In a collaborative study donw with partner organizations and public research institutions, LAMAVE's work analyzed 2,659 manta ray sightings in 22 different sites within the country. The group factored in species, particularly the reef manta and oceanic manta. They found that both kinds can be found in 11 out of the possible 22 areas.
These locations were home to 89 percent of the individual manta rays:
1| Ticao-Burias Pass Protected Seascape in Bicol
2| Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park in Palawan
3| Puerto Princesa City
4| Municipality of Taytay
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In these areas, specific manta ray behaviors were closely observed, from cleaning to feeding and more. The study also concluded that oceanic manta rays would keep coming back to the areas where they were originally found. For instance, a female manta ray was first seen in Daanbantayan, Cebu in 2009 and was again seen in the same place a few years later. Manta Ray sighting intervals usually ranged from two to eight years.
The research also estimates that there have been 392 reef manta ray sightings from 2004 to 2020, with most of them swimming in the Ticao-Burias Pass, Taytay, and Tubbatah areas.
Unfortunately, both species are in constant danger. It was discovered that many of them had endured damage to cleaning stations and fishery-related injuries, such as missing fins and deep cuts. Conservation strategies, such as protected zones and better regulatory interventions, were recommended to address the issues.