A manta ray glides over me and my camera in Indonesia's Raja Ampat. Mantas are filter feeders and eat large quantities of zooplankton, which they swallow with their open mouths as they swim. Mantas do visit cleaning stations for the removal of parasites like in this short film. The largest mantas can reach 1,350 kg (2,980 lb) and at least 7 m (23 ft) in "wingspan". In 2014, Indonesia brought in a fishing and export ban as it realized that manta ray tourism is more economically beneficial than allowing the fish to be killed. A dead manta is worth $50 to $600 while manta ray tourism can bring in $1 million during the life of a single manta ray. Indonesia has 2.2 million square miles of ocean and this is now the world's largest sanctuary for manta rays. Mantas have one of the highest brain-to-body mass ratios of all fish and if approached with care and respect they can be curious and spend a long time with you.
The coral reefs of Raja Ampat are some of the richest marine habitats on Earth. Let's protect Raja Ampat and other fragile marine- and terrestrial ecosystems on this vulnerable and magical planet! Shot on assignment with @ & @ @ @al @ @