STINGRAY FEEDING SUMMARY REPORT #2

APRIL 9th– 19th 2020

Following on from the previous Stingray Feeding Summary Report #1 April 4-8 the DoE continues to assume responsibility for the ongoing and regular supplemental feeding and human interaction at Sand Bar Stingray City.  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 Stingray City between 9th April and 19th April 2020.

 

DAILY FEEDING AND MONITORING REPORT:

 

  1. Between Saturday 4th April 2020 and Sunday 19th April 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:

 

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 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 1 1 2 3 2 1 3 5 4 8 3 8 4 5 15 12
Rays present after 10 minutes of feeding 6 18 10 11 14 12 12 7 14 16 12 14 13 16 20 21
Rays present after 30 minutes of feeding 12 21 16 14 18 14 16 21 16 18 17 18 19 17 20 25
Total rays present upon departure 16 25 16 14 20 17 16 21 17 18 17 19 19 18 23 25

 

OBSERVATIONS:

 

  1. Rays have completely and strongly habituated to the DoE Guardian vessel arrival and time.
  2. Food types have varied. Squid still continues to generate the most boisterous reactions.
  3. Variations in arrival time do not seem to impact the number of rays present at the site.
  4. Observations 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.
  5. There is a repeated trend that a particular ray may be present at the site for 2-3 days and then not be seen again for a time.
  6. When feasible drone footage was collected to give a ‘snapshot’ of the stingrays around the boat to make counting easier.