A Journey Into Manta Ray Conservation


A Journey Into Manta Ray Conservation

Saturday 16th September 2023

Join us for an evening dedicated to manta ray conservation and the beauty of our oceans!

The Manta Trust, Manta Watch New Zealand, and Mobula Conservation are excited to host a special film screening event that aims to raise awareness and support for the preservation of some of the oceans most mysterious, magnificent and endangered creatures. With their grace, intelligence and gentle nature, manta rays captivate the hearts of all who encounter them.

Formed in 2011, the Manta Trust is a UK-registered charity that coordinates global manta and devil ray research and conservation efforts. The Manta Trust works with affiliates around the world through research, advice, and education to drive the policies and practices necessary to conserve manta rays, their relatives, and habitats. This global team is comprised of a diverse group of researchers, scientists, conservationists, educators and media experts; sharing and promoting knowledge and expertise.

Manta Watch New Zealand is an affiliate project collecting valuable data on oceanic manta ray sightings in New Zealand. in the hope of better understanding if the manta rays here are seasonal visitors or a distinct population.

Mobula Conservation is another affiliate project researching devil rays in the Pacific coast of Mexico. They are working to develop effective solutions to reduce the impact of fisheries on devil rays and connect science and people through their outreach and education work.

Through stunning visuals and compelling storytelling, the series of short films will take you behind the scenes of the lives of manta ray researchers and teach you about the challenges manta rays face in their conservation journey. Two of the featured films, ‘Manta Watch’ and ‘Munkiana’, are currently touring throughout global independent cinemas and are not to miss.

This event is hosted by Manta Trust experts who will be sharing their knowledge and experiences of working with these incredible creatures in the field. With their expertise, we will delve into the importance of protecting manta rays and the various initiatives that they are undertaking globally to ensure their survival.

Proceeds from ticket sales will directly support manta and devil ray conservation. Come along and be part of this inspiring evening that unites a community of ocean lovers, environmental enthusiasts, and curious minds eager to make a difference!


Manta Trust Introduction (4 minutes)
Manta and devil rays are among the most charismatic creatures in our oceans. With the largest brain of all fish, their intelligence and curiosity make encounters with these animals a truly amazing experience. Despite their popularity with divers and snorkelers, many aspects of their lives remain a mystery. More worryingly, targeted and bycatch fisheries for these animals have had devastating impacts on populations around the world. Manta and devil rays have arguably become some of the most threatened fish in our seas. Learn about how the Manta Trust was founded in order to turn the tide for these enigmatic rays, by co-ordinating global research and conservation efforts around manta rays, their relatives, and their habitats.

The Local Island Fund for the Environment (LIFE) - RahVeshi Fund (4 minutes)
For the Manta Trust, the Maldives is where it all started. Their founding project, the Maldives Manta Conservation Programme (MMCP), has evolved into one of the largest and longest-standing manta ray conservation groups in the world. The team are excited to share with you their latest MMCP initiative – the Local Island Fund for the Environment, known as RahVeshi Fund in the Maldives local language, Dhivehi. Created to establish long-term, locally driven research and outreach programmes to protect the natural resources of the Maldives, build local capacity for conservation in remote parts of the country, and help the Maldives adapt to the climate crisis by improving ecosystem-based resiliency.

Manta Watch - Discovering Aotearoa's Gentle Giants (25 minutes)
Unbeknown to many, New Zealand’s waters are home to one of the most spectacular, yet elusive of ocean giants - the oceanic manta ray! Jam-packed with phenomenal footage and featuring interviews with the core research team, "Manta Watch" beautifully introduces Aotearoa's oceanic manta rays, the problems they face, and the people committed to studying and protecting them. Heavily centred around community collaboration and knowledge exchange, this exclusive screening series is an opportunity to celebrate and raise awareness about these highly intelligent, globally endangered, gentle giants.

Munkiana (26 minutes)
In recent years, the waters off Baja California Sur have held witness to an unprecedented phenomenon. Tens of thousands of Munk's pygmy devil ray (Mobula munkiana) have arrived to form aggregations several kilometres wide. Encounters across 12 months of field study trace a blueprint of ecological connectivity around the Baja California Peninsula, prompting more questions than answers and uniting a diverse set of perspectives seeking to understand why.

Event running time: 110 minutes (Introductions and film screenings: 80 minutes; Q&A: 30 minutes)

Age guidance: Parental Guidance advised

Dates & Times

 Saturday 16th Sep 2023  5:30pm Intro + Q&A
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