Archive for October 24th, 2008

October 24, 2008

Cownose Rays On The Move

Sandra Critelli

I am a big believer in the power of photograghy.  Sandra Critelli, an amateur photographer, recently stumbled across a massive school of migrating cownose stingrays while out along the Mexican coastline in the Gulf of Mexico looking for whale sharks.  Her images are absolutely breathtaking. 

Sandra Critelli 

Mass migrations of cownose are known to travel from Florida’s Gulf coast out to the Yucatan peninsula.  Recently there has been speculation that populations of cownose stingrays are on the rise because of decreasing pressue from natural predators, like sharks, which are becoming scarce due to poor fishing practices and overharvesting for the shark fin trade. 

Sandra Critelli

It begs the question if, despite the beauty of a thousands-strong school, the event the photos captured is truly natural or is further evidence of the unbalanced ecosystems in the oceans.  For more revealing photos, particularly for coral conservation, check out the work of Ramadian Bachtiar in Seribu Islands National Park in Indonesia.  I’m particularly concerned that the ornamental trade in coral is considered to be a driving force for these kind of collection practices and subsequent reef destruction.