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Previously unknown population of endangered oceanic manta rays discovered, raising hopes for species

Scientists have identified a population of endangered oceanic manta rays off the coast of Ecuador that is 10 times larger than any other known population. The discovery offers hope for the future of the species, experts say.

“This is a rare story of ocean optimism,” Joshua Stewart, an ecologist at Oregon State University’s Marine Mammal Institute and coauthor of the research, said in a statement. “In other regions, we typically have population estimates of 1,000 to 2,000 animals, which makes this species very vulnerable. In this area, we’ve estimated that the population is more than 22,000 mantas, which is unprecedented.”

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