Feb 1

We’ve asked conservation organisations around the world to nominate a species that they believe to be overlooked, underappreciated and unloved, and tell us why they think that they deserve a fair share of the limelight, this Valentine’s Day.

Each nominee’s story is featured on the Arkive blog with information on the species, what makes them so special, the conservation organisation that nominated them and how they are working to save them from extinction.

Click the ‘unloved species’ tag above to see all of the nominations and their blogs.

Once you have perused the blogs you can vote for your favourite to help get them into the top ten unloved species and get them the recognition that they truly deserve! Share your favourite with others using the #LoveSpecies hashtag on Twitter and Facebook and tell them why they should vote for them too. Voting closes on February 14th at 23:59 PST (07:59 GMT).

Join us and our conservation partners in celebrating and raising awareness for some of the world’s most unloved species this Valentine’s Day!

Species: Giant manta ray

Nominated by: Manta Trust

Conservation status: Vulnerable

Why do you love it? They are among the most charismatic creatures that inhabit our oceans.  Giant mantas are the largest of all the rays; reaching a wing span (that’s wing tip to wing tip) of up to 7 metres and weighing in at up to 2,000 kg this makes them a real ocean giant! With the largest brain of all fish, their intelligence and curiosity make encounters with these creatures a truly amazing experience.  As charismatic megafauna the giant manta ray acts as flagship species, helping to promote and engage the general public in the wider message of marine ecosystem conservation.

What are the threats to the giant manta ray? In addition to natural predation, giant mantas face significant threats from humans and our activities. Fishing line can cause severe entanglement resulting in deep, and often life threatening lacerations if mantas become entangled in it. Gill nets and other fishing nets also cause them to become entangled, usually resulting in death. More worryingly, in recent years, a fishery for these animals has developed with devastating effects on populations of these animals globally.

What are you doing to save it? The Manta Trust researchers and volunteers work closely with tourists, local communities, businesses and governments to ensure the preservation of these amazing animals through good science, education, community bdased initiatives and government legislation. As the scope of the Trust’s work continues to grow our goal is to expand these efforts globally.

Find out more about the Manta Trust

Discover more true ray and skate species on Arkive