Under the Raja Ampat Sea
The global epicentre of marine biodiversity, Raja Ampat is home to some 1,500 fish species. In this edition, meet five of the region’s protected marine creatures.
As predators at the top of the marine food chain, sharks play an important role in maintaining fisheries and ecosystem health. Experts say that most of the shark species found in Raja Ampat waters, including the blacktip shark and the wobbegong, pose little danger to divers.
Despite their longevity (dugongs live for 50 years or more), dugongs take a long time to reproduce: it takes 14 months before a female dugong gives birth to a calf, and the time between births ranges from two and a half to five years. This, coupled with hunting, makes the dugong a species vulnerable to extinction.
There are more than 500 species of ray in the world, and one of them, the manta ray, is highly protected in Indonesia, particularly in Raja Ampat. Fact: rays don’t have a swim bladder, so when they are not swimming, they sink, hence why they live at the bottom of the sea.
Raja Ampat is home to six of the world’s seven marine turtle species, with the green and the hawksbill turtles being the most-spotted species. In fact, almost every uninhabited island in Raja Ampat is a nesting ground for turtles!
Bryde’s whale, sperm whale and killer whale are some of the marine mammal species identified in the Raja Ampat waters. Most Bryde’s whales live in the northern hemisphere, while sperm whales and killer whales can be found in almost all of the world’s oceans.