Introducing the Bird’s Head Seascape Manta ID Database by Sarah Lewis
Introducing the Bird’s Head Seascape Manta ID Database
by Sarah Lewis
Project Leader Indonesia – Manta Trust
Founder – Indonesian Manta Project
Teaming up with the Bird’s Head Seascape website and Conservation International we are excited to announce the launch of our online Bird’s Head Seascape Manta ID database: a visual and interactive platform that invites you to meet the manta rays, follow our work, and contribute towards manta research.
For the past six years Manta Trust’s Indonesian Manta Project has been working to better understand and protect manta rays across this vast archipelago, and one of the most important ways we do this is through the use of photo identification. Our photo ID work in the Bird’s Head Seascape (BHS) began in 2011 when we teamed up with Misool Eco Resort and Papua Diving to start learning about the manta rays of Raja Ampat. Five years later it has expanded into a comprehensive research and conservation program that encompasses much of the Bird’s Head Seascape, and includes a passionate team of local, national and international partners.
Our vision for the BHS Manta ID site is to give everybody the opportunity to get to know and love the BHS manta rays through an easy to use and highly visual online platform. In addition, BHS visitors can use this site to submit (and even ID) their own manta ray photos, contributing directly to our research while learning about “their” manta rays in the process. As our manta library grows so does our understanding of the manta population, each photo acting like a piece of the puzzle. Increased understanding is critical for the development of successful species conservation and we encourage BHS visitors to get involved and help us with this exciting and important research…every photo counts!
By sharing our science through this site, our hope is to inspire empathy towards these vulnerable rays and connect those people who might not otherwise be able to visit the BHS manta rays.
So please visit the site and contribute your photographs! Each of you then becomes a member of the conservation team. We need and count on your support. If you love manta rays and are concerned about their and the ocean’s welfare…GET INVOLVED!
“In the end we will conserve only what we love; we will love only what we understand; and we will only understand what we have been taught.” – Baba Dioum.
I would like to express my gratitude to the fantastic website designers, Newmediasoup, and also to the generous supporters of this project, including Dan and Alex Cohen, Wolcott Henry, Marie-Elizabeth Mali, Alex and Sybilla Balkanski, Jon and India Vannini, the SEAA Aquarium, Save Our Seas Foundation, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation.