Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu recently celebrated the first anniversary of its Manta Ray Identification Project. In cooperation with Manta Trust, our guests and colleagues at Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu assist in maintaining up to date records of the current Manta Ray population in the Maldives, by supplying details of sightings and identification pictures when possible.
In the last 12 months, the research efforts carried out in over 24 snorkeling and diving excursions has resulted in the identification of 61 different Manta Rays individuals, 35 of which were new to the Maldivian Manta Ray Database. As Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu is the only resort located in southern Baa Atoll, our associates and guests have been instrumental in the identification of Manta Rays within this region.
In our continued observation of the Manta Ray population, we have seen evidence of ‘juvenile aggregation’, whereby 46 out of the 61 Manta Rays have been juveniles.
Reef Manta Rays (Manta alfredi) only mate when there is enough plankton available for the baby to eat and survive. As a result, the sighting of a ‘mating train’ on July 10th, whereby several mature male Manta Rays displayed interest in a single mature female individual, highlighted the increase in the amount of plankton, within the Baa Atoll waters. This has been the first sighting of mating activity in the last 3 years, standing to reason that this behavior may be on the rise.
We therefore hope that the current situation will remain, whereby a new generation of manta rays will be welcomed in the near future!
SOME OF THE NEWLY IDENTIFIED INDIVIDUALS BY COCO PALM GUESTS AND ASSOCIATES
THE MATING TRAIN OBSERVED ON July 10th 2013