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Government of Western Australia - Department of Fisheries
Wednesday 17 July 2019

Tourism WA's touching Ningaloo manta ray vision goes viral

This media release was issued by Acting Tourism Minister Bill Johnston

    • Vision shared online of Ningaloo Reef manta ray reaches nearly three billion people
    • Featured in news coverage in UK, USA and France
    • Filmed by Tourism WA during promotional trip by Monty Halls to WA

Vision of Western Australia's extraordinary marine life and crystal clear water has reached billions of people worldwide after a touching encounter with a giant manta ray at Ningaloo Reef went viral.

The vision features an amazing underwater rescue by photographer Jake Wilton, from Ningaloo Marine Interactions, who removed fish hooks embedded near the eye of the ray.

Wilton had been diving with well-known United Kingdom broadcaster and marine biologist Monty Halls when the ray, known to locals as Freckles, approached the pair.

Video footage showing the ray rescue and was distributed to media by Tourism Western Australia's UK team last week and quickly went viral.

Tourism WA arranged Halls' trip and the filming of the dive experience as part of a campaign to encourage tourists from the UK to take a road trip in Western Australia.

The vision has made local and national headlines, and recorded almost five million views online.

In the UK, Freckles has attracted print coverage across most major newspapers and news channels, and in the United States of America it has been picked up by 50 news channels.
Click here to view the Tourism WA Ningaloo manta ray encounter.
Comments attributed to Acting Tourism Minister Bill Johnston:

"The Ningaloo Coast is an unforgettable part of the world, where exhilarating encounters with manta rays, whale sharks, humpback whales and sea turtles are all possible.
"We're so pleased to hear Freckles got the help she needed and in the process became an international ambassador for WA tourism.

"The United Kingdom is an important market for us and this vision is a really authentic representation of what people from overseas can expect when they holiday here."

Minister's office - 6552 5600

Last modified: 24/07/2019 10:42 AM

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