After divers cut away the commercial fishing line tangled around this 16-foot manta ray, it does a backflip for the camera in joyous appreciation.
In the reef surrounding Cocos Island, nearly 350 miles west of mainland Costa Rica, marine life is abundant thanks to a 12-nautical-mile fishing exclusion zone. These divers capture incredible underwater footage of eels, dolphins, sharks, and the coral reefs that the area is well known for.
Unfortunately, the area surrounding the small island is not immune to debris left by boats that continue to illegally fish the area. The divers come across a giant 16-foot manta ray and immediately notice that fishing line has become wrapped around it multiple times, leaving deep cuts in its tissue.
The first attempt to free the ray is stopped short, as it quickly spooks and swims away after the diver can only cut through one part of the fishing line. Then, as if the ray knows they are there to help, it allows the divers to approach it a second time, and they are successful in removing all of the line. Once freed, the manta ray swims around playfully, even showing off a little back flip in front of the diver’s camera.
It is not uncommon for wild marine life to show their appreciation after being set free from entanglement, like this humpback whale did after being rescued from a similar situation.