Join the 40th International Wildlife Film Festival in Missoula, USA for an amazing selection of films and the screening of our new documentary "The Patterns of the Ocean" about the creation of the Indonesian Manta Sanctuary.
Manta rays belong to the largest animals in the ocean, but are still holding many secrets. Yet, their time is running out: the gentle giants’ survival is threatened by a new trend in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Manta ray gill rakers allegedly cure all kinds of ailments including asthma, skin rashes, chicken pox and even cancer and fetch high prices on the markets.
In our film, we accompany manta ray researcher Elitza Germanov on a field trip in the national park of Komodo, a UNESCO world heritage site situated in the heart of the Coral Triangle, the most biodiverse marine region on our planet.
Numerous conservation efforts are taking place to protect the charismatic rays, including “Citizen Science” projects, which are of immense importance for the researchers and conservationists. Photos and videos of the unique spot patterns on a manta’s belly, taken by divers or snorkelers with cameras and uploaded to online databases, helped researchers to prove the migration of manta rays between different national parks in Indonesia – through areas with highly aggressive fishery.
Fortunately, these findings coincided with the listing of manta rays under CITES and a study about the economic value of manta ray related tourism in Indonesia, emphasizing the need to protect this iconic marine animal. Thus, in 2014, the Indonesian government declared its whole exclusive economic zone a manta ray sanctuary. Yet, in a country with over 17,000 islands, and large parts of the population living below the poverty line, enforcing new protection laws is difficult.
And might there be other threats as well, harming not only manta rays, but all marine life? What can everybody do to help save the oceans?
Sunday, April 15th 1:30pm Theater 1