Conservation through Research, Awareness and Education
Manta rays are large and charismatic cartilaginous fish. There are two species of manta ray, both of which can be found in the Maldives: the oceanic manta ray (Manta birostris), reaching up to 7m in wingspan and the smaller reef manta ray (Manta alfredi) found along reef edges and continental shelves, with an average wingspan of 3.5m. However, despite their size, these ocean giants are among the friendliest fish in the sea, making them a joy for divers and snorkelers to encounter whilst in the water!
The Manta Trust was formed in 2011 to coordinate global research and conservation efforts for manta rays, their close relatives and their habitat.
The Manta Trust follows the worldwide conservation of manta rays and their habitat through science and research, while at the same time raising awareness and providing education to the general public. For this reason, on the Thudufushi, the Manta Trust biologists accompany our guests on private excursions, mainly dedicated to manta rays, explaining their activities and giving tips and scientific information on their behaviour.
Diamonds Thudufushi run a “Biology night” and a “Marine Biology Laboratory” which allows our guests the possibility to enjoy a brief description of overall Marine life in the Maldives, from plankton and up to bigger species.
The constant support of Diamonds Resorts to the Manta Trust project led Diamonds Thudufushi to be one of the top submitters of the manta ray photo IDs during the 2015 project.
For this reason the Resort has received a “Certificate of gratefulness” as the 3rd national submitter and is already striving to do even better in 2016.
The Manta Trust Researchers at both resorts accompany regular dives to cleaning sites, sharing insights and facts with guests and involving them in the ongoing research and Photo-ID collection. The Researchers also leads excursions to a local manta feeding area – a lagoon just 15 minutes away by speedboat – to find and snorkel with these gentle giants as they aggregate near the surface for a plankton feast.
During both trips our Researchers offer guests an educational and rewarding experience by making their manta encounters more personal and directly involving them in the research and conservation of these wonderful creatures! In addition to the daily data collection, the Researchers conduct informative weekly presentations and fun, hands-on workshops aim to educate, inspire and enrich guests’ vacation whilst raising awareness about the work of the Manta Trust and the importance of manta rays’ conservation.