Off the hook: Manta ray asks divers for helping hand
A giant manta ray with several fishing hooks caught below its eye appeared to ask two nearby divers for help in removing them, and then waited patiently for them to do so.
Underwater photographer Jake Wilton was diving off Australia’s west coast when the three-metre wide animal moved toward him, footage showed.
“I’m often guiding snorkelers in the area and it’s as if she recognised me and was trusting me to help her,” Wilton said in a statement Monday.
“She got closer and closer and then started unfurling to present the eye to me.”
Incredible footage shows Wilton repeatedly diving down toward the animal and removing the hooks, before the manta ray departs after the final impediment is dislodged.
“She never moved. I’m sure that manta knew that Jake was trying to get the hooks out,” said marine biologist and fellow diver Monty Hall.
Manta rays are considered one of the most intelligent underwater creatures and are common off parts of the west coast of Australia.
The ocean giants can grow up to seven meters wide and live for about 50 years.
They don’t have the sharp barb of a stingray and are harmless to humans.