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Riled Up is a journal of science, the environment, exploration, new technology, and related commentary.  Contributors include scientists, explorers, engineers, and others who provide perspectives and context not typically offered in general news circulation.  For interested readers, additional resources are included.

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Baja's Flying Mantas

Baja's Flying Mantas

 

Giant Manta Ray, Manta birostris (credit: NOAA)

 

With a wing span reaching up to 20 feet, it is not surprising that giant Manta Rays (Manta birostris) might take flight out of the water sometimes. Their aerobatic displays may be a mating ritual to show who can fly the farthest or it maybe just for fun. No one knows but a National Geographic diving team captured the rare sight of a huge manta congregation leaping in Baja's Sea of Cortez while filming for a NatGeo travel program:

Sadly, the massive but gentile giants are being killed by poachers to supply the illegal demand for their gills in China and elsewhere in Asia.

Marine conservation organizations, dive companies, and even individuals can help the threatened species by being diligent and proactive in their protection. The international organization Manta Trust in the UK uses a three-pronged approach to their conservation: research, education, & collaboration to protect mantas wherever they are found and help in their restoration where depleted. The opportunity to encounter and watch mantas flying should be encouragement enough to want them fully protected. WHB

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