Giant Devil Ray Rescued Off Spanish Beach
This is the endangered giant devil ray that has been rescued after swimming to a popular tourist beach in Spain.
The startling scenes were recorded by an onlooker off the La Mata de Torrevieja beach in the Spanish province of Valencia.
The huge two-metre (6.5-foot) ray reportedly appeared close to the shore off the beach and municipal biologist Juan Antonio Pujol coordinated a rescue operation to return it to deeper waters.
Swimmers had reportedly spotted the huge ray, listed as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and alerted the authorities.
Biologist Pujol worked with two police officers to place the giant devil ray onto a stretcher that was then towed out to sea by a jet ski.
In the video, the ray can be seen as it is towed by the jet ski and local diver Vicente Martinez and another man swim next to the ray.
The animal was taken around three miles (4.8 kilometres) out to sea before being released.
According to Juan Antonio Pujol, the ray “had some kind of problem that took it to the coast, but once it was towed out to sea and felt that it had depth below it, it disappeared”.
Ujol said it was possible the ray had been caught by a fishing vessel and then released.
He added: “We don’t know if it will get over it or not, but at least we’ve given it another chance.”
Devil rays inhabit offshore areas and their range is as deep as several thousand meters.
The main threats to devil rays come from pollution in the Mediterranean Sea and by catch capture from fishing vessels.