Giant stingrays find a new home

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Two Mangrove whiprays have been moved to the Weymouth Sea Life Centre, Dorset after they grew too large for their former home.

The rays, named Bonnie and Clyde, had been resident at Torquay's Living Coast zoo's "Mangroves: The Roots of the Sea" exhibit, but had outgrown the attraction's tank, reaching a disc diameter of 1m/3' and weighing around 19kg/3stone each, at which point the decision was made to re-home them in the more spacious accommodation available at Weymouth.

The rays were caught in nets, and then transferred on wet stretchers to a lorry fitted with a 2,000 l. tank for their journey from Devon to their new home in Dorset. Living Coasts hope to replace them with smaller specimens of the same species shortly.

Mangrove whiprays (Himantura granulata) also sometimes known as Whitetail stingrays are a largely solitary species, widely distributed throughout the Indo-Pacific region. They are generally found in shallow, coastal waters where they prey upon a wide range or fish, crustaceans and invertebrates found on the seabed.

Adults can have a disc diameter of over around 1.4m/4.6' and be over 3.5m/11' long including their long, whip like tails which carry a venomous barb which they use for defence.

The Mangrove whipray is listed as "Near threatened" on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species largely due to fishing whether as a targeted species or as by-catch from other fisheries such as prawn trawling.

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