Manta ray named Freckles showed divers hooks embedded under her eye

Incredible moment a massive manta ray named Freckles begs divers for help to remove hooks embedded under her eye

  • Photographer, Jake Wilton, was diving in WA when the manta ray approached
  • The ray, Freckles, flipped her body over to show Jake hooks stuck under her eye
  • She remained completely still underwater so Jake could remove all the hooks

A manta ray with fishing hooks stuck in her eye has been filmed begging a group of snorkellers to save her life. 

The heartbreaking footage shows the ray, nicknamed Freckles by local divers, approaching the group on Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia. 

The three-metre-wide gentle giant flipped her body over to reveal she had several metal hooks stuck under her right eye.  

The heartbreaking footage shows the ray (pictured), nicknamed Freckles by local divers, approaching the group on Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia

The three-metre-wide gentle giant flipped her body over to show them the hooks as if she knew that without the diver’s help, she would be in danger

Underwater photographer Jake Wilton decided he simply had to remove the hooks to save the beautiful creature’s life.

After several attempts, Mr Wilton cleared Freckles, saving her from a nasty infection or even blindness. 

Mr Wilton said he believes Freckles recognised and trusted him because he regularly guides snorkelers in that area.  

‘She got closer and closer and then started unfurling to present the eye to me,’ he said.

‘I knew we had to get the hooks out of her eye or she would have been in big trouble.’ 

After a few attempts, Mr Wilton needed one final dive to clear the hooks.

Underwater photographer, Jake Wilton, was diving with British TV broadcaster and marine biologist, Monty Hall, on Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia when the manta ray approached them

Jake said he believes Freckles recognised and trusted him because he regularly guided snorkelers in that area 

‘I went down for one last try and the manta stayed completely still in the water,’ he said.

The video shows Jake rise triumphantly from the ocean with the hooks before the ray swims majestically away. 

A gentle giant: What is a manta ray? 

Manta rays are a large species of fish with flat bodies. 

They are seven meters wide and live for around 50 years. 

Unlike stingrays, manta rays don’t have an external spike and are totally harmless to humans.

Mantas are found in tropical and subtropical waters in all the world’s major oceans, and also venture into temperate seas.

In 2011, mantas became strictly protected in international waters because of their inclusion in the Convention on Migratory Species of Wild Animals. 

British marine biologist Monty Halls, who was aboard the boat at the time, said the manta must have known Mr Wilton was trying to help.  

‘Jake went down and down again. She never moved. I’m sure that manta knew that Jake was trying to get the hooks out,’ he said. 

‘That manta absolutely understood what was going on. Jake went down again and again and she just remained still for him,’Mr Halls said. 

Unlike stingrays, manta rays don’t have an external spike and are totally harmless to humans. 

They can grow up to seven meters wide and live for around 50 years. 

Experts believe that the injured manta’s eye could have become infected, leading to blindness and even death.

Coral Bay, located along a section of Ningaloo Reef, is one of the best places in the world to swim with manta rays which congregate in large numbers year-round. 

Other marine wildlife which can be spotted on the World-heritage listed reefinclude humpback whales, dolphins, whale sharks, dugongs and turtles. 

After several attempts, Jake was able to successfully remove the hooks from underneath Freckles

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