Conservation through Research, Awareness and Education

UK Registered Charity Number: 1145387

#LOVEminiMantas at CITES

#LOVEminiMantas heading off for the Azores, August 2016

#LOVEminiMantas heading off for the Azores, August 2016

200kg of luggage….check! Our team is set and ready to go!

The 16th August 2016 saw the launch of our latest media campaign – #LOVEminiMantas!

Long-time Manta Fans will remember back in 2013 when the world’s governments came together for the CITES conference in Bangkok. Back then, we played a significant role in both species of mantas gaining protection under CITES – the only international and legally-binding treaty to control the trade in endangered species.

Now three years later, the world’s governments are gathering once again and we are heading back to CITES. This time we are working towards helping the ‘mini-mantas’ of the oceans…the 9 species of mobula rays – gain the same CITES protection from the threats that face their larger cousins.

#LOVEminiMantas is our media effort surrounding the Mobula Proposal. At it’s centre is a short film we plan to take to the CITES conference in South Africa – a 360VR film of the mobula rays of the Azores!


Day 1 in the water for the #LOVEminiMantas campaign got off to a flying start!

We’re super excited to share more information about the campaign in the lead up and during CITES, what’s going on and how you can get involved to support the CITES effort for ‘mini-mantas’!  Keep an eye on our social media.

The view of our office for the next 3 weeks. Approaching the Azores the waters of Santa Maria looked insanely clear and blue and the view of our office for the next three weeks was an encouraging start to what we hoped would be a successful shoot!

Day 1 in the water for the #LOVEminiMantas campaign got off to a flying start!  After only 30 minutes on glass-calm seas, we stumbled upon a black oceanic manta cruising at the surface. We hardly know anything about the oceanics in the Eastern Atlantic, with the Azores being one of the only areas you can occasionally see them….and even then, sightings are rare and limited to a small seasonal window each year. Black-morph oceanics are rarer still! So to see this guy, on Day 1….and to have it stay and interact with us for over an hour, including this cool moment with Team Member Maya Santangelo ….what a way to kick off the shoot!


360VR camera rig in the water for the first time on the shoot

We were super-pumped from Day 1 of the #LOVEminiMantas campaign’s encounter with a black-morph oceanic manta ray. It happily hung around with us for over an hour, so we had plenty of time to get the 360VR camera rig in the water for the first time on the shoot (yes, the weird looking thing on the end of the pole…that’s the underwater camera).  We may not have seen any mini-mantas yet, but Day 1 was a good day!

Experiencing an encounter with a manta or mobula is often a mind-blowing moment for people – it changes the way they see these animals, and often ignites an understanding of why they are so special.

Sadly we cannot take all the voting delegates of CITES on a dive with the mini-mantas of the oceans. But taking them on a dive at the CITES conference using Virtual Reality may just be the next best thing! That’s the whole idea behind this chunk of the #LOVEminiMantas campaign. And it’s this weird camera, being wielded in these photos, that makes all of this possible.  Keep an eye on our social media for more up-to-date information about this project and how things go at CITES.


A weird looking thing on the end of a pole…that’s the 360VR underwater camera!

As part of our ongoing #LOVEminiMantas media campaign surrounding the mobula proposal for CITES, we are working with mobula ray researcher Ana Sobral. Ana runs the Manta Catalog Azores project, and as part of the campaign we want to help her project grow. Ana is trying to collect photo ID data of the mobulas she swims with everyday, but doesn’t have her own underwater camera to take on dives. We want to fix that…

We finally have t-shirts available online! Help our #LOVEminiMantas campaign help Ana’s mobula research!


We’ve launched an official campaign t-shirt design for #LOVEminiMantas, and have partnered with Teemill to have it printed on sustainably sourced, eco-friendly shirts. Please show your support for the campaign, for the mobula CITES proposal, and help Ana get a desperately needed camera for her important research by grabbing yourself a limited-edition t-shirt. All profits made are going towards getting Ana her own underwater camera.


Conservation Media Group Manta Catalog Azores Mantamaria DIVE Center Azores



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