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Manta rays gather in the waters off the Oaxaca coast. Manta rays gather in the waters off the Oaxaca coast. ALEX KROTKOV

Thousands of manta rays surprise tourists in Oaxaca

Their presence was not unusual but the numbers were

People in Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca, were treated to a surprise show when thousands of manta rays gathered in the shallow waters of a beach on Sunday evening, occasionally leaping out of the water.

Beachgoers took pictures and video of the aquatic reunion, and local resident Alex Krotkov was even able to capture the rare moment from above with the help of a drone.

Hugo Ibáñez López, representative of the environmental protection group Vivemar, told journalists that what was unusual about Sunday evening’s sighting was not the presence of the myliobatiformes, which is not unusual off the coast of Oaxaca, but rather their huge numbers.

Ibáñez’s group is dedicated to the protection of marine life on local beaches, especially the sea turtles that swim ashore to lay their eggs on the beach.

The environmentalist said that ongoing monitoring by Vivemar revealed that the manta rays’ arrival was preceded by a dramatic drop in ocean temperature.

Drone camera zooms in on manta rays.
Drone camera zooms in on manta rays. ALEX KROTKOV

He and several colleagues observed them from a small boat.

“. . . the manta rays were all between 40 and 80 centimeters long. There were thousands of them — a tonne — and they were very playful. They leapt out of the water when they caught sardines to eat. It was a show put on by nature.”

The group remained in the waters off Puerto Escondido from Sunday evening until midday on Monday.

Source: Excelsior (sp), El Heraldo (sp)

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