Manta ray gets a name

Pilbara News - - News - Tom Zaun­mayr

The 50th manta ray found off the Ex­mouth coast as part of Project Manta has been given a name af­ter a call-out was made to the public.

Aurora was the over­whelm­ing favourite, cho­sen among more than 120 en­trants.

The name was sug­gested by UK-based Jas­mine Pestell and 11-year-old Nor­we­gian Kris­tian Van Der Meijs

More than 850 in­di­vid­ual man­tas have been iden­ti­fied on the Nin­ga­loo Reef through Project Manta and Univer­sity of Queens­land’s iden­ti­fi­ca­tion pro­gram.

The re­search was ex­panded to the north­ern reaches of the reef around Ex­mouth in late 2016.

Project Manta Nin­ga­loo rep­re­sen­ta­tive Jes­sica Smith said Nin­ga­loo Reef and, in par­tic­u­lar, Coral Bay is one of few places in the world home to a res­i­dent pop­u­la­tion of manta rays.

“Coral Bay is well known for its res­i­dent pop­u­la­tion of manta rays, but up un­til now very lit­tle was known about manta rays that are sighted around Ex­mouth and north Nin­ga­loo,” she said.

“We cur­rently have 57 man­tas in the data­base first sighted around Ex­mouth and we con­tinue to record sight­ings and iden­ti­fi­ca­tions.”

Both win­ners of the com­pe­ti­tion won Coral Bay Eco­tour tick­ets to swim with Nin­ga­loo manta rays.

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