In Photos: Whitley Awards for Nature Conservation 2018 Winners
Kerstin Forsberg became involved in manta ray conservation in Peru, working with local fishers and volunteers to study and conserve the species.
Photograph: François Schaer/2018 Whitley Awards
Peru and Ecuador are thought to be home to the largest giant manta ray population in the world, but the last 75 years have seen localised populations decline by up to 80%. While a dead manta is worth up to $500, manta ray tourism can bring in $1m during the life of a single ray. For the first time in Peru, fishers are being supported by to develop responsible manta ecotourism. With new income streams from tourism, fishers are starting to release incidentally captured mantas with the knowledge that they are worth more alive.
Photograph: 2018 Whitley Awards