With fewer people and boats crowding Dubai Marina, a school of Oman cownose rays is visiting the area regularly. Dubai residents who spotted this group, took to Instagram and Twitter to share videos.
Ashish Ranjan, an Indian ex-pat who resides in Bay Central Towers in Dubai Marina, shared this video.
The 35-year-old who is an executive manager at a Dubai-based company is currently working from home. He said: "This is definitely not a common sight, it has started happening in the last 10 days after people started staying home and working from home due to the coronavirus pandemic."
Ranjan had heard from his neighbours about the recent ray sightings. He said: "I have been living in this part of Dubai for a year now and this is the first time I have seen these rays. Usually, the marina has boats and people often visit the area. Now, it is quieter."
Ranjan also added that working from home is giving people a break from their busy office lives and a chance to observe such things happening around them.
According to a tweet by @AzraqME, a non-profit marine conservation group registered in the UAE: "Cownose rays are a type of stingray and are named after the shape of their head. Cownose rays are active swimmers and are rarely found lying motionless."
Cownose rays are typically found in the Atlantic Ocean along the coast of western Africa, the eastern U.S., the Gulf of Mexico and parts of the Caribbean. They are considered an open ocean species, but can inhabit inshore, shallow bays and estuaries. They prefer warm temperate and tropical waters to depths of 72 feet.
The Oman cownose ray is a subspecies found in the Arabian Gulf and the Pacific Ocean.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature says that Oman cownose rays are considered “regionally endangered”, in part due to overfishing.
The group Ranjan spotted seems to be a smaller group. Another video shared recently on Twitter shows a larger group spotted in Business Bay https://twitter.com/SelcomsDWC/status/1246367180276416512
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