The 2013 MantaWatch Internship Program is over, the interns have already returned to their universities, and it’s no longer mating season in Komodo National Park. But as alumni of this year’s Internship Program, we still have important homework to do sharing our new manta ray knowledge.
In Indonesia, our manta rays are an important and valuable natural asset. Some estimates indicate that populations have already declined by as much as 60%. I believe that is has never been more important for people in Indonesia to learn about this majestic creature, and to take action to protect and conserve manta rays.
As a new Manta Ambassador, I decided to share my experiences from this year’s MantaWatch Internship Program by giving a series of presentations to marine science students and members of the Marine Science Students Association and the Marine Diving Club at the University of Diponegoro (UNDIP).
UNDIP Marine Diving Club undertakes conservation, education and research work for the Faculty of Marne Sciences. About 30 members came to watch my presentation, to learn about manta rays, and to find out how they can help conservation efforts by reporting their manta encounters.
I also gave a presentation to UNDIP Marine Science Student Association members during a workshop entitled “Marine Explorers”. Not all of these students were divers, but they were still excited to learn about this species and to sign the petition to Save Manta Rays.
I enjoyed sharing information about manta rays with other students from my university. I hope they will also spread awareness, and that together we can all help Save Manta Rays.