A large manta ray washed up on Bloubergstrand Beach on Saturday [January 9] and thanks to bystanders, was saved and placed back in the ocean. People walking along the beach noticed the ray at about 11.30am and quickly sprung to action to help return it to the seas.

“It beached in front of my parents’ house in Stadler Road Bloubergstrand, it might have been injured because of the rocks,” Liesl Maree explained. Her family helped bring the manta ray back to safety.

“We spent around 20 minutes and managed to get it back into the ocean. It beached again and later the NSRI also came and helped it back. Apparently it managed to swim back to warmer waters.”

This marine animal gets its name from the Spanish word “manta”, meaning blanket or cloak. It has a flat, diamond-shaped body with triangular pectoral fins.

There are two distinct species: the reef manta ray which lives in coastlines in the Indo-Pacific, and the giant oceanic manta ray which is commonly found in the world’s major oceans and far from land.

The manta ray is listed as a vulnerable species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and their greatest threat is overfishing.

Picture: screenshot from video

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