Support for Conservation Research
Brother is directly funding critical conservation research efforts focussing primarily on Climate Change and Sustainable Resource Management.
The manta ray is the world’s largest ray, reaching a disc width of up to seven metres. It is harmless and listed as 'Vulnerable to Extinction' on the IUCN Red List for Threatened Species but is not currently protected in Australian waters. Working from Lady Elliot Island within the southern Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, Dr Kathy Townsend is conducting a range of research to better understand this iconic species and protect the Great Barrier Reef.
Despite its environmental, cultural and commercial value, manta rays are the target of unsustainable fisheries. In East Asia and Africa there is particular demand from the traditional medicines industry, which use manta ray products such as gill arches in many products. Over-fishing therefore poses an immediate threat to the viability of the species and has already caused population declines in many regions, resulting in the IUCN red listing.
In Australia, manta rays along the eastern coast occur in relatively shallow waters from Narooma in southern NSW to the tip of Cape York in the north, a distance of nearly 4,000 km. Although the rays are commonly seen and dived with at certain sites, there is relatively little is known about most aspects of the biology and ecology of manta rays and there is no scientific data available on the Australian east coast population. Project Manta wishes to rectify this disturbing lack of data through a multi-faceted study of the biology of manta rays along the eastern seaboard of Australia.
Findings from this research and the use of cutting-edge imaging technology may be used to help conserve a number of other species including polar bears, sunfish, whale sharks and leopards.
What is Brother support providing?
Brother Australia is the founding partner of Earthwatch's Project Manta; a multi-faceted study of the biology of the iconic manta ray along the eastern seaboard of Australia.
The project will engage scientists, industry partners (including Brother employees) and the community in a comprehensive study of manta rays that will simultaneously enhance our knowledge of the species, generate economic and social benefits and provide a basis for long-term monitoring of the environment. The project will follow Earthwatch’s unique model of engaging the public in scientific research to inspire action and demonstrate how individuals really can make a difference.
Project Manta will focus on three areas of manta ray ecology and biology:
- population: to determine the population size of Australia’s manta rays
- movement: to determine where manta rays move over fine and large time scales
- behaviour: to understand what they are doing and why
The project will also focus on the development of a Manta Identification Database.
Brother In-kind support
Brother has generously provided the Earthwatch Australia and Project Manta offices with business products, helping Earthwatch to professionally meet our mission.