ATLANTA (September 3, 2009) – The Georgia Aquarium announced today the addition of a second manta ray into The Home Depot’s Ocean Voyager gallery, the largest aquarium exhibit in the world with 6.3 million gallons. The addition of the female manta ray makes the Georgia Aquarium the only aquarium in the United States to ever house two manta rays, and one of only four aquariums in the world to display this species. The new manta ray will join the Aquarium’s original manta, Nandi, four whale sharks and thousands of other species of sharks, rays and fish in the exhibit.
The newest female manta, who measures more than 8 feet across and weighs approximately 425 pounds, was collected off of the coast of Florida. The manta ray is listed as near threatened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Threats to manta rays include over fishing while producing few young over a lifetime.
“The Georgia Aquarium is thrilled to grow our manta ray collection with the addition of this second beautiful animal,” said President and COO Anthony Godfrey. “By housing manta rays at the Aquarium, we are able to educate the millions of guests that enter our doors each year about importance of conserving this beautiful creature.”
For the first time in the Aquarium’s history, one lucky person will have the unique opportunity to name a Georgia Aquarium animal. From Sept. 3-Oct. 2, 2009, guests can enter up to five names for the new manta at www.georgiaaquarium.org. One winner will receive an invitation for two to the Planet Shark Opening VIP Party, Planet Shark tickets, four Annual Passes and the opportunity to swim with sharks in the Aquarium's Journey with Gentle Giants program. No purchase necessary.
For more information, contact Public Relations:
ABOUT MANTA RAYS
The manta ray is the largest of all rays, weighing up to 6,000 lbs and measuring up to 26 feet in width. It has a unique body shape, with an extremely broad head and an enormous, wide mouth flanked by two broad, flexible lobes. These fins are kept rolled and pointed forward, except when the manta is feeding. Its tail is whip-like, but short, and does not have a barb or spine. The manta ray is primarily a plankton feeder, but also consumes small and moderate-sized fishes. It is listed as “near threatened” on the IUCN Red List.
ABOUT GEORGIA AQUARIUM
The Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta, Georgia, is one of the world’s largest with more than eight million gallons of water and more aquatic life than any other aquarium. The mission of the Georgia Aquarium is to be an entertaining, educational and scientific institution featuring exhibits and programs of the highest standards, offering engaging and exciting guest experiences and promoting the conservation of aquatic biodiversity throughout the world. For additional information, visit www.georgiaaquarium.org.