100 Reasons Project: Manta Rays

The 5th feature in my #100reasonsproject is the giant oceanic manta ray with one of their greatest threats: plastic pollution. ✍🏼

manta rays and plastic pollution illustration by kohola kai creative

As filter feeders, manta rays are not usually able to decipher plastic particles from their typical food source and end up consuming them. Microplastics- or small plastic particles-  are not easily broken down by marine organisms. Worst case scenario, these particles can block their digestive tracts leading to mortality.  Even if they are able to swallow and pass the plastic particle, it is still using precious energy to digest a particle that has no nutritional value.

On my instagram post about this artwork, I included a video by @laurenpeggy_ of reef mantas swimming in a mass of plastic trash; a concrete example of plastic pollution.

I challenge you to look for 3 plastic items in this images that you use; plastic drink bottles, snack wrappers, plastic bags, etc. Can you live without buying more of them and use a plastic free alternative?

Mantas also face major threats from fishing; both direct fishing for their gills (prized by some traditional Asian medicine) and through bycatch in non-direct fisheries. 

Sea animals now face more human caused threats than ever. I hope you will follow along with this #100reasonsproject where artwork is created for 100 threatened and endangered marine species. 🌊

 

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