21 May 2024

People snorkelling in the waters surrounding the Rok Islands in the Andaman Sea, off Thailand’s southern province of Trang, have sighted Manta Rays, a vulnerable species and the largest type of ray in the world, for the first time in about 18 years.

The Rok Islands are widely known for their rich marine life, which has regenerated during the COVID-19 tourism hiatus. Snorkelers were excited to encounter the large Manta Rays as, normally, only scuba divers would be able to see them.

The Manta Rays are between 3 and 6.7 metres wide and weigh up to 1,350 kilograms.

These rays are often found in tropical waters, especially near coral reefs. Such creatures are also found near the “Hin Daeng Hin Muang” dive site near the Rok Islands, located within the Mu Koh Lanta National Park.

The manta ray is considered to be endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as a result of overfishing over the past few decades.