STINGRAY FEEDING SUMMARY REPORT #3 and #4

APRIL 20th– MAY 3rd 2020

 

Following on from the previous Stingray Feeding Summary Reports #1 April 4-8 and #2 April 9- 19 the DoE continues to assume responsibility for the ongoing and regular supplemental feeding and human interaction at the Stingray City Sand Bar.  As previously stated the DoE has committed to continue to reinforce the rays association between boats/humans and food with a regular feeding schedule until marine curfew restrictions are relaxed and the private sector can resume visiting the site.

 

The following brief report incorporates the details of feeding efforts and ray presence at the Sand Bar between 20th April and 3rd May 2020.

 

In water feeding

 DAILY FEEDING AND MONITORING REPORT:

 

  1. Between Monday 20th April 2020 and Sunday 3rd May 2020, between 10 – 1 PM each day, the DoE fed approximately 5 – 20 lbs of appropriate food to rays present at the Sand Bar.

 

  1. A standardized protocol was adopted and remains the same from the previous report:
    1. The DoE vessel approached from the south and circled the Sand Bar and then proceeded to the reef crest traveling west for 400 meters and then returned to the Sand Bar to anchor in the centre with the engine running in neutral.
    2. The number of rays present was immediately recorded.
    3. Prepared food was distributed for 10 minutes and then the number of rays present was recorded.
    4. Food was distributed for an additional 20 minutes and rays were counted again and a 360 degree video record was collected using a GoPro or cell phone.
    5. In water feeding activity was then conducted for approximately 10 minutes of constant stingray/human contact.
    6. A final stingray count was conducted prior to departure.
  2. An updated summary of recorded ray presence is provided:

 

 

WEEK 1
April 4-12
Max: 25 Min: 14
Week food: 90 Lbs
Week Time/Total Time (HH:MM): 7:45/7:45
Sat 4th April Sun 5th April Mon 6th April Tues 7th April Wed 8th April Thu 9th April Fri 10th April Sat 11th April Sun 12 th April
Rays present on Sand Bar at arrival 1 1 2 3 2 1 3 5 4
Rays present after 10 minutes of feeding 6 18 10 11 14 12 12 7 14
Rays present after 30 minutes of feeding 12 21 16 14 18 14 16 21 16
Maximum rays observed on visit 16 25 16 14 20 17 16 21 17

 

WEEK 2
April 13-19
Max: 25 Min: 17
Week food: 84 Lbs / Cum. 174 lbs
Week Time/Total Time (HH:MM): 6:45/14:30
Mon 13th April Tues 14th April Wed 15th April Thu 16th April Fri 17th April Sat 18th April Sun 19 th April
Rays present on Sand Bar at arrival 8 3 8 4 5 15 12
Rays present after 10 minutes of feeding 16 12 14 13 16 20 21
Rays present after 30 minutes of feeding 18 17 18 19 17 20 25
Maximum rays observed on visit 18 17 19 19 18 23 25
WEEK 3
April 20-26
Max: 26 Min: 18
Week food: 85 Lbs / Cum. 259 lbs
Week Time/Total Time (HH:MM): 6:30/21:00
Mon 20th April Tues 21th April Wed 15th April Thu 23rd April Fri 24th April Sat 25th April Sun 26th April
Rays present on Sand Bar at arrival 8 15 14 10 12 10 12
Rays present after 10 minutes of feeding 14 20 23 17 20 18 20
Rays present after 30 minutes of feeding 18 21 26 18 23 22 21
Maximum rays observed on visit 18 21 26 22 23 24 21

 

WEEK 4
April 27 -May 3
Max: 25 Min: 15
Week food: 97 Lbs / Cum. 356 lbs
Week Time/Total Time (HH:MM): 7:14/28:14
Mon 27th April Tues 28th April Wed 29th April Thu 30th April Fri 1st May Sat 2nd May Sun 3rd May
Rays present on Sand Bar at arrival 8 16 12 16 10 10 4
Rays present after 10 minutes of feeding 14 26 18 20 14 14 12
Rays present after 30 minutes of feeding 18 24 25 22 16 16 14
Maximum rays observed on visit 18 26 25 22 18 16 15

 

OBSERVATIONS:

 

  1. We have installed a mooring to assist with anchoring and departure.
  2. In water feeding continues but remains a considerable hazard given the level of excitement amongst the rays, sea conditions or the availability of an additional crew member.
  3. Food types have varied. Squid still continues to generate the most boisterous reactions but baitfish is also proving very popular.
  4. Softer foods get eaten on site very quickly while larger more bony items such as fish heads mean the rays leave the feeding area to sit and crunch up their catch.
  5. Observations continue to support that there are different rays there each day, as well as moving in and out of visible range during feeding, so more rays are present in the vicinity than the daily count enumerates. There is growing evidence to support that if a rays receives a substantial enough food supply they do not remain on site for the duration of the feeding but depart early reducing the 30 minute count or final count.  The final count protocol upon departure now is an estimate of rays that may have potentially left as well as joined during the entire visit and is recorded as ‘Maximum rays observed on visit’.  GoPro footage analysed at a later event can also influence this number.