Landaa Giraavaru lies in the pristine Baa Atoll. Declared a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve in 2011, it is home to some of the richest waters in the Maldives.
One of the Reserve’s most famous visitors is the resident reef manta. With wing-spans up to four-metres wide, these exceptional creatures congregate every May to December in mass aggregations at local hot spots to gorge on plankton swept in by seasonal tides.
We like to think of Landaa Giraavaru as ‘Manta HQ.’ It was here, in 2006, that the Maldivian Manta Ray Project (MMRP) was inaugurated – the founding project of The Manta Trust, now the world’s leading manta ray charity.
Thanks to the work of the MMRP, the Maldivian manta ray population is one of the most intensely studied anywhere. In addition to collecting data on the manta rays it encounters, MMRP also studies environmental and climatic factors, as well as tourism and human interactions – research that is contributing vital knowledge to global conservation efforts.
Through initiatives like ‘Manta Researcher for the Day’, private manta safaris and ‘Gentle Giant Cruises’ onboard Four Seasons Explorer, you can immerse yourself in all aspects of The Manta Trust’s research and conservation, from environmental data collection to taking ID photos – and even naming a manta sighted for the first time.
For those with a little less time, our ‘Manta on Call’ service will contact you wherever you are in the Resort and whizz you away by speedboat to swim with mantas sighted nearby. You can also visit the Manta Trust researchers in the Marine Discovery Centre to catch up on their latest efforts – including the breakthrough listing of manta rays on Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) in 2013.