Salina Cruz, Oaxaca — La Secretaría del Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales of Oaxaca reports the death of at least a dozen manta rays that were found washed up on a beach in Salina Cruz.
The agency says that they, along with environmental officials from la Procuraduría Federal de Protección (Profepa), have begun an investigation into the mysterious appearance of the rays.
The sighting of the dead rays was reported by local citizens who said the mantas were found washed up on playa La Ventosa. At first, it was thought they were simply grounded, however, it quickly became clear that a majority of those on the shore had died.
Fabián López of the Rivereños Fishermen’s Union said that when the mantas were first spotted, some of the locals attempted to return the living rays back to the sea, but for some reason, they were dragged back to the bay deceased. He said that several fishermen then began cutting up the fish to take the meat for consumption.
Biologists and marine inspectors also arrived to investigate possible causes of the deaths of the large manta rays.
Speculation says that the rays were possibly stranded after being chased by predators that pushed them toward the shore, while others claim pollution, which was the case in dozens of manatee deaths in Tabasco last year.
So far, authorities have not reported on the possible cause of the mass death of the rays, only saying that stingrays are commonly found in the shallow coastal waters.