Giants of San Benedicto
Inside Mares Mexicanos, in the Biosphere Reserve Archipelago of Revillagigedo, San Benedicto is one of the four islands that form the best archipelago on Earth to see the Pacific Giant Manta (Manta birostris). This island together with the other three are home of these majestic animals that hold a special place in the heart of each and every diver who cares about the future of our oceans. These majestic giant mantas which have roamed the oceans for over 150 million years love to feel the divers bubbles on their bellies, that is why they approach so close to the divers when they get in their realm, besides they are such smart animals that have a very interesting curiosity for the divers.
The population of Mantas in the Archipelago is more likely to be close to 1000 Mantas, research is still under analysis to support and proof this theory. So far we know these mantas have a high site fidelity to the archipelago and they move constantly between the islands. They have food and they have the endemic Clarion Angel Fish that is the one that cleans the parasites off the Mantas. Some pregnant mantas have been sighted in the area but none at full term of pregnancy. Perhaps they leave the archipelago and go somewhere else when the pregnancy term is almost over to have their pups. Where they go to give birth, it's still a mystery...
Mantas are hunted and killed for their gill rakers (internal structures that Manta rays use to absorb oxygen from the sea and also filter plankton on which they feed), which are promoted as an unsubstantiated Chinese medicinal cure for a variety of ailments. The gill raker trade is valued at $11 million annually. Unsustainable in nature, this trade jeopardizes the sustainable global tourism market for these gentle giants valued at over $100 million annually.
The gruesome and cruel destruction of these majestic creatures is unnecessary, tragic and extremely alarming, therefore the mantas are becoming increasingly in danger.
We can't protect what we don't love.
Conservation Through Education!