Monday, 28 September 2009

Raison D'etre

There is much speculation as to why these mantas come to this area. Our theory on how to find out those reasons were simple: Basic observation. You cannot substitutethis simple necessity with technology. No equipment, however technical, however well developed, will tell you what your own eyes will see. Hours in the water is what counts.
Our theory paid off. This video shows without any doubt that there is at least some feeding activity going on around this island. It's position and our study into it's relationship with the surrounding bathymetrical environment, coupled with our lengthy observation show that this is not a unique incident. Mantas come here to feed. We have observed it many times over the recent weeks and have captured it on film more than once.
This is not a surprise to us. If there is one element of life that dictates the behaviour of all animals, it is the need to gain nutrition. We suspect that these mantas are migratory, and their migration, driven by nutritional requirements suggests that they are not that different from other migratory beings. Elephants, Wildebeast, Basking Sharks, Swallows, Bears, the ebb and flow of a creature's activity is often directly related to its food source. It is not therefore a question of how to follow the animal, but of how to predict the behaviour of its food.

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Due Thanks

We have had our blog on hold for a while until we managed to eventually get our permission for investigation sorted out with the Ecuadorean Environment Ministry. Our initial attemptsback in May to get the permission was blocked by what can only be described as petty protectionismby local conservation interests, who, for their failure to look at long term goals for such investigationshould be thoroughly ashamed of what they did. What place these people have in the competitive sphere of conservation and science, only time will tell, but surely, what goes around, comes around.
However, after lots of time to-ing and fro-ing, and great openminded helpfulness from officialsat the Environment Ministry, we eventually got our permission and now begin working on correlating our information both for the benfit of the Ecuadorean poeple and the manta rays.
Ecuador is often criticised from outsiders for having no real goals for long term conservation, the recent furore over shark fin trade is a fine example. However, after speaking with Environment Ministrystaff, I can only see a determined dedication to their countries natural resources, and the efforts under President Correa seem even more determined. The picture here is far from negative.
I would therefore like to thank the Ministry for the Environment here in Ecuador, and wish them well in their necessary attempts to enforce environmental law, not just to curb poachers and traders, but to ensure that all scientific and environmental investigators in the country follow correct legal protocol.