Ocean News

SOSF Publishes World’s First Natural History Book on Manta Rays

8th November 2017

The charismatic manta ray, with its wing-like pectoral fins, spends its life in perpetual motion, wandering the seas in search of microscopic plankton which it feeds on. These majestic creatures captivate and connect people to our oceans and have become a popular species for eco-tourism. However, mantas are vulnerable to human-caused problems such as climate change, coral bleaching, and unsustainable fishing practices. Recently. SOSF published the World’s first natural history book focused on mantas.

MANTA Secret Life of Devil Rays | Photo © Thomas P. Peschak

While we do know manta rays pose no risk to humans, much of their life remains a mystery. Today, national and international data on the reproductive cycles, habitat use, migration patterns and population estimates of these gentle giants are not clearly defined. Acquiring this information is critical to developing conservation measures for these vulnerable animals.

To generate knowledge on mantas, Dr. Guy Stevens began critical research on their mysterious lives in the Maldives in the early 2000’s. SOSF began funding his work in 2007. Four years later, Guy’s project expanded when he founded The Manta Trust, a UK and US registered charity coordinating global research and conservation efforts on manta rays and their close cousins, the mobula rays.

A decade later, this collaboration has evolved into a proud partnership in which SOSF delightedly supports the influential mobulid conservation projects The Manta Trust conducts, such as the creation of MANTA: Secret Life of Devil Rays, a trailblazing book that will educate readers about these majestic animals.

A collaborative effort, the book was written by Guy with images by award-winning National Geographic photographer, Thomas P. Peschak. Together, they hope this unique publication will convey the grace and inquisitive nature of these Threatened rays, capturing what is at stake if we chose not respect and protect them and our oceans as a whole.

MANTA Secret Life of Devil Rays | Photo by Olivier Born © Save Our Seas Foundation

According to Guy, manta ray science is still in its infancy. Still, he believes that communicating knowledge and observations can promote imaginative thoughts in others which drives science-based conservation measures forward.

‘With so many questions still unanswered, it is impossible to write with absolute certainty about all aspects of these animals’ lives’, he explained. ‘However, much has been learnt about manta rays in recent years and this book is the first-ever attempt to bring together global knowledge about these charismatic species.’

All proceeds from MANTA: Secret Life of Devil Rays will support ongoing research and conservation efforts by The Manta Trust. Purchase your copy today at mantabook.com to support ocean research and conservation.