In a World First, Experts Tagged the Biggest Ocean Stingray on the Planet

Elusive. Mysterious. And possibly a critically-endangered species already.

We almost have no knowledge of the smalleye stingray, the rarest and largest marine stingray on the planet. Why are their eyes so small, yet their monstrous bodies can grow as long as 10 feet?

Photo: YouTube/Marine Megafauna Foundation

How do they live? Do they rest? Do they give birth at the part of the ocean where people have come to observe them?

National Geographic Explorer and ray expert Andrea Marshall along with her colleagues are in Mozambique to conduct an in-depth study on these stingrays. The world has to learn more about them to understand their biology and ecology, and to save their species from becoming extinct.

Photo: YouTube/Marine Megafauna Foundation

At the moment, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has listed smalleye stingray as Data Deficient. It’s vital to gather as much information as possible about this species to be able to protect them.

Dr. Marshall and Dr. Simon Pierce founded the Marine Megafauna Foundation to save the giants of the ocean world from disappearing forever. And this includes the smalleye stingrays, which in a world first, the researchers were able to tag in their natural habitat!

Photo: YouTube/Marine Megafauna Foundation

It was not an easy thing to do since this kind of stingray can inflict serious injury on a person with its tail. The MMF scientists and researchers are very careful in dealing with these giant marine creatures even though there are times that the stingrays seem to be a bit friendly. They are creatures of the wild, and it’s difficult to predict their behavior, especially since the team is still endeavoring to gather data about them.

At last, they were able to put acoustic and satellite tags on 11 smalleye stingrays. Many people were filled with excitement upon learning the news. A door is opening, and soon we will learn more about these incredible animals who have been living in ocean depths in pure mystery.

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