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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Varying impact of human feeding on Pink Whiprays, Himantura fai, at two sites on Mo'orea


This study was conducted on Mo'orea, French Polynesia to investigate and record the impacts of ecotourism on two populations of himantura fai, pink whiprays or pink whiptail stingrays. Two sites were chosen each with varying impact to rays. Photographs and recordings were made and analyzed. Thirty eight individual rays were identified, 29 from one site and 8 from the other. Five kinds of scarring were described and compared between the two. It was found the more dense ray population was more injured and impacted and habituated to humans. The higher frequency of injury suggests a lower quality of life and indeed a negative impact from ecotourism. A mock mark and recapture study was done using the Lincoln-Peterson method. The population estimates were 30 and 8, suggesting the 29 and 9 rays identified are the entire populations. No rays were seed at both sites, which suggests site fidelity.

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