Monday, September 15, 2014, 8:24 PM – Video has surfaced of a distressed manta ray seeking help from divers off the coast of Costa Rica.
The video is quickly going viral, racking up more than 800,000 views on YouTube in just four days’ time.
Thomas Montiero and Flavia Passaglia of Brazil and Brian Thompson of Canada were recently diving at Costa Rica’s Manta Islands, when they were approached by a “peaceful” manta ray that had become tangled up in fishing wires.
The huge animal let Thompson get close enough to cut and remove the fishing line.
“Now the manta can live with no pain,” the YouTube description says.
Manta rays are incredible creatures that can grow up to 23 feet in length.
They are naturally curious and often approach human divers.
Sadly, the species is being viciously hunted in Asia, where their gill plates are considered to be a natural health remedy.
Fortunately, there is hope for the manta ray.
On Sunday, 178 countries began imposing strict sanctions for hunting hammerhead, porbeagle and whitetip sharks, as well as two manta ray species. Now, all fishermen will be forced to hold proper permits, and illegally-hunted animals will be seized at all ports of entry.