World's largest oceanic manta ray population in Ecuador and other manta news this month

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16 November, 2022


Have you heard? We have just published a paper that has identified a distinct population of oceanic manta rays off the coast of Ecuador, estimated to be over 22,000 individuals! Yes, you heard that right…more than 22,000! Making this the world's largest known population of oceanic manta rays.

This study was conducted between 2005-2018 as a huge collaborative effort between Proyecto Mantas Ecuador, as part of Fundacion Megafauna Marina Del Ecuador, The Manta Trust, Galapagos Science Center, Oregon State University, and Marine Megafauna Foundation.

The release of this paper marks an important point in history for oceanic manta ray research. “This work solidifies Isla de la Plata, and Ecuador more broadly, as a globally important hotspot for this endangered species,” said Michel Guerrero of Proyecto Mantas Ecuador. “While this population may be healthy thanks in part to its large size, it is essential that we take the necessary steps to protect it and prevent the declines that many other manta ray populations have faced.”

The findings, reported in the journal Marine Ecology Progress Series indicate that while other populations of oceanic manta rays are typically small and therefore extremely vulnerable to human impacts, this population is large and potentially quite healthy.

Read the full paper

“This is a rare story of ocean optimism," said Joshua Stewart, an assistant professor with the Marine Mammal Institute in OSU’s College of Agricultural Sciences and a co-author of the paper. "In other regions, we typically have population estimates of 1,000 to 2,000 animals, which makes this species very sensitive. In this area, we’ve estimated that the population is over 22,000 mantas, which is unprecedented.”

Read more about it



Are you looking for a sustainable Christmas gift, that not only supports manta ray research and conservation but has no negative impact on the planet? Look no further!

Our digital manta ray adoption packs make the perfect gift - an opportunity to learn about these gentle giants, whilst supporting global efforts to research and protect them.

Each pack includes an adoption certificate, a bio of your adopted manta ray, a poster, a fact file, an activity pack and a personalised e-card!

Adopt a Manta


The Cyclone is our members-only hub, where supporters gain access to exclusive videos, stories, and regular updates from the field. We are so grateful for the continued support from our community of Cyclone members, which is growing every month!

To keep this number growing, we have created The Cyclone gift voucher - the perfect sustainable gift for marine life lovers, who will get 6 months of exclusive access to the platform. If you know someone that loves manta rays and is always longing to learn more about these gentle giants, this might just be the perfect Christmas gift for them!

Learn more



Have you seen our awesome Manta Trust charity t-clothing...including these cosy Christmas jumpers? Our designs are available on t-shirts, tops, hoodies and tote bags. All of our products are printed on super-soft 100% organic cotton made in a wind-powered factory at Teemill...any product you buy can be returned when it is worn out, recycled, and re-made into new clothing, in return for a coupon off your next item; ensuring that anything we sell never ends up in landfill!

Although we love it when our followers buy our merchandise, we do not promote overconsumption, so please shop mindfully and only buy what you need. Thank you!


With generous support from Once A Year - Global Ocean, the Manta Trust team have recently been busy working behind the scenes to begin creating a comprehensive education and diversity strategy. This strategy will help to guide our global education efforts, which aim to engage and inspire people around the world with the marine environment, whilst empowering a greater diversity of people to take action in protecting the ocean.

Have you seen our education portal yet? Click the button below!

Did you know?

Oceanic manta rays are the largest species of ray, with wingspans that can reach more than 20 feet! They are filter feeders that eat large quantities of krill and other zooplankton, and tend to live in small subpopulations in tropical, subtropical and temperate waters, spending much of their time in the open ocean.

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