The Fun of Swimming with Pari Manta in Raja Ampat, West Papua – Raja Ampat area in West Papua is well-known for its fascinating marine tourism. Not only the beautiful view of the blue sea, but also the underwater world which is rich with a variety of biota. One of the most unique biota that can be found over there is Pari Manta.

The animal is the largest stingray in the world. Tourists can try snorkeling and swimming with the fish named in Latin Manta Oceanic.

Pari Manta generally have a width of up to two times larger than other types with a body diameter of 4-5 meters and can be found in snorkeling activities in shallow seas ranging from 2-5 meters. Even in certain locations, species weighing up to three tons can be found on the surface of the coast.

Tour guide from the Raja Ampat Indonesian Tour Guides Association (HPI) Aditya Dwi Saputra said swimming with Pari Manta  is a safe and fun activity for tourists as long as all terms of interaction have been agreed. “Pari Manta are the only harmless ray species, because they do not have poison in the spines on their tails. Unlike other rays in general,” he said on Manswar Island, Raja Ampat, West Papua, Thursday, March 24, 2022.

For tourists who are interested in snorkeling with Pari Manta , the number is limited to a maximum of five to eight people. In addition, interactions in the water are limited to a water depth of 3-4 meters and are prohibited from using camera lights when taking selfies.

Aditya said the provision was to avoid the risk of transmitting bacteria from the skin of manta rays covered in mucus. Besides, interactions that are too close have the potential to disturb the peace of manta rays which can make them reluctant to return to Raja Ampat.

In good weather conditions, Pari Manta  colonize in groups of 15 to 30 individuals in one water area. “In certain months in Raja Ampat, the best weather for manta rays is warm temperatures and flowing water,” said Aditya.

Richard, one of the tourists who tried to do snorkeling with Pari Manta admitted that he was amazed and fascinated by the fluttering of the giant fins and their graceful movements. “It’s like seeing birds dancing in the sea,” he said.

The tourist from Lampung was willing to spend Rp. 475 thousand to be able to swim with manta rays. Meanwhile, foreign tourists are priced at IDR 950,000 per person. The tariff is to redeem the Environmental Services Card which is valid for a year.

It should be noted that the Pari Manta has been included in the endangered group of animals by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The status is a warning for the government to immediately take anticipatory steps for the sake of avoiding the threat of extinction of this rare marine biota species.

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