Indonesia, showing no sense of irony (or shame) just made it law that the country will now be a sanctuary for the manta ray.
Why? Because they’re worth more alive than dead due to ecotourism, most prominently scuba diving. Not a poor man’s sport.
I just spent a few thousand dollars traveling to Indonesia on an eco-tour to see the critically endangered species the orangutan, among others, like the sun bear, gibbons, proboscis monkey, etc.
So let’s protect the manta ray, sure, by all means. Nothing against this beautiful, graceful, peaceful species, and it’s a move in the right direction. But it’s like a shiny set of keys distracting a little baby from the real toy. The species is not critically endangered. I guess there are no two-bit, fly-by-night palm oil companies (probably run out of Singapore or Malaysia), seedy and corrupt officials, or mega multibillion dollar corporations who stand to gain from their staying alive.
But keep razing the jungles for palm oil plantations, banana republic Indonesia — the literally criminal practice that is spelling death and destruction for the orangutan, the Sumatran Tiger, and the pygmy elephant, all of which are just barely hanging on to this world. Imagine how much these animals are worth alive?! People like me and the many others on my late January trip paid thousands to see them while they’re still around and not gone the way of the dodo bird.
Indonesia is whack! Guess you can’t grow oil palm trees underwater.
Read the story here: http://news.mongabay.com/2014/0222-indonesia-protects-manta-rays.html