Stingray City with Guy Harvey | JONATHAN BIRD’S BLUE WORLD


Next on Jonathan Bird’s Blue World, Jonathan visits a city full of Stingrays! Hi, I’m Jonathan Bird and
welcome to my world! ( ♪ music ) The Stingray. It sounds like a
weapon from outer space. It
even looks a little like a space ship, but actually it’s a
flattened fish with wings—a
close relative to the shark. But stingrays are almost
never dangerous to people
because they spend most of their time on the bottom of the ocean
hunting for clams and worms in
the sand. Southern Stingrays live all over the Caribbean. And nowhere are they more
common than here, Stingray
City, on Grand Cayman Island.
This is one of the most famous
marine animals encounters in
the world. The Cayman Islands are just to
the south of Cuba in the
Caribbean Sea. These islands are a diver’s paradise with lush
reefs and amazingly clear
water. But it’s not just divers
who come here. Each day dozens of cruise ships
come to the Caymans loaded with
tourists, and many of them come to interact with the
Stingrays. And that’s why I’ve come here. My guide will be artist and
Marine Biologist Dr. Guy
Harvey, who operates a shop
here on Grand Cayman Island. I stop by
to get a look at some of his
famous paintings of marine life Dr. Harvey takes a few minutes
to show me his technique and
his famous signature. DR. HARVEY: Good Morning! JONATHAN: Good Morning! DR. HARVEY: How are you guys
doing today? JONATHAN: Great! And then early the next
morning, well before most
ordinary tourists are awake,
with Dr. Harvey and his daughter Jessica
as my guides, I head out to
Stingray City in hopes of
observing hundreds of Stingrays schooling
in formation. Well Jonathan, hopefully
they’ll be nobody out there
when we get there, and we can
observe this phenomenon of the
schooling Stingrays. This is
the only place in the world
where you will see this happen. Stingray City itself is a
series of shallow sandbars on
Grand Cayman’s north sound. When we arrive and drop anchor,
there’s nobody else there. Whew! It’s pretty deep! I’m in the water for just a few
minutes when off in the
distance a squadron of Stingrays comes right at me! We have the Sting Rays to
ourselves for a while, but soon
enough, other people start to show up. By mid-afternoon, hundreds of
tourists have arrived to
experience direct contact with the stingrays. The Stingrays come here not for
the contact with people, but
for the never-ending buffet. The tourists, like all good
guests, always bring something
for lunch. A little fish or squid, for example. By feeding the Stingrays,
humans have actually altered
their natural history here in
the Caymans. Normally, they are
nocturnal animals which feed at
night and rest during the day. But things are different at
Stingray City as Dr. Harvey
explains :By feeding them all day long,
what we’ve done is change that.
They go to sleep at nighttime because they don’t need to
forage, and they come here in
the daytime. So their whole diel arrangement of
behavior–feeding behavior–has
been altered. You could never do this with a
truly wild Stingray. These
Stingrays have been fed and they’re used to people and
they’re not afraid. Normal
Stingrays, they take off. But these guys, they’re looking for
a little bit of a handout, so
this is the only reason we can get this close to them.
But still, the interesting
thing is, they are wild animals. They come to this place to be
fed, but so do the animals that
eat them. So, they can become victims of shark bites,
they can get hit by boats, cut
up by propellers, so it’s a pretty dangerous place still
even though it looks like an
aquarium. They don’t call them stingrays
for nothing. That’s the stinger
or barb. It’s just a really sharp spine at the
base of their tail and it’s
their only means of defense. When they get attacked, it’s
the only thing they have is a
little poker. They use their stinger to
protect themselves from their
predators—sharks. DR. HARVEY: You know for a big
shark, this is like coming to
Burger King. And this is a perfect example
because this male has lost his
tail and half a clasper, probably to a shark. But he’s
doing all right. He’s doing all
right. DR. HARVEY: All right, we’ll
let him go. They key to catching them–so
I’m told by the experts
here–you’ve got to get in front of them. But they keep turning
on me. O.K. Here we go. Here we
go. Here we go. Oops. Turning. They’re we go. No
don’t turn. Don’t turn. Don’t
turn. He just jumps right in there. It’s like
wrestling an alligator. DR. HARVEY: This is a big one.
Ready?…Ready? JONATHAN: Yeah!! No! Gotta
catch him myself. DR. HARVEY: Whoo…He’s… JONATHAN: Hellooo. That’s a
love bite! The most important part of this
is to keep their head under
water. Because obviously they can’t breathe if you lift
it out of the water. Jessica has a good example here
for you. If you look on the
Stingray right behind the eye, there’s a giant hole. You
might think it’s the gill but
it isn’t. It’s called the spiracle, and it’s a little
place where they can inhale
water and then they pump it down into the sand through
their mouth and what they do is
they use it like a jet. They blast little holes in the sand
to hunt for prey. This is a little piece of fish,
a little piece of fish we got
going here. This smells quite fishy, here you go. Whoa, yeah,
take it easy! There’s a lot of
inhalation going on! There’s a lot to learn about
Stingrays and Dr. Harvey leads
a group of scientists who capture, measure and tag the
stingrays to learn about the
impact of human interaction. They inject electronic chips
into them so they can study
them over many years. Since the tags go under the
skin, they never fall off and
they don’t interfere with the stingray’s natural behavior. DR. HARVEY: It works. We got
100 percent tag retention,
which is really good for a long term study on a population like
this. Dr. Harvey research has shown
that the same individual
stingrays stay here year after year, and that the bigger, more
aggressive rays tend to get
more food from people …. so the smaller ones still have to
do a lot of their own foraging. He also found that predators
like sharks keep the population
of stingrays under control. As for the human impact, it
seems that both humans and
stingrays enjoy the
interaction—they both get something out of the
deal. There is no doubt that
Stingray City is special—a magical place where the
creatures of the ocean and
those of the land can meet and find common ground. ( ♪ music )

100 thoughts on “Stingray City with Guy Harvey | JONATHAN BIRD’S BLUE WORLD

  1. question: whats the impact of humans holding rays?
    we do have lots of bacteria and stuff in our arms and hands

  2. Today I went to an aquarium and i was bit by a bamboo shark. I love the ocean so so so so much but I'm a little afraid now. Any advice?

  3. I am currently in the United States Army and getting out within the next 2 months and the first thing I am doing when I get home is getting scuba certified. I just want to say thank you so much for inspiring me with every single one of your videos. I've been watching you since I was 13 years old and still to this day. I absolutely love what you do and can't express how much you truly have inspired me. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

  4. Hey jonathan i want to request you something, make a episode of you swimming next to a jellyfish lion's mane

  5. The cayman reefs are mostly dead from all off the gasoline pumped into the water from late cruiseships.

  6. This show has so much more content than Coyote Peterson's imho. But Coyote wins his audience with his charisma and edgy behaviours

  7. Jonathan do stingrays activate them so if you touch there stinger it doesn't sting but they can choose to activate it or not?

  8. I used to be afraid of Stingrays, however after visiting the Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies in beautiful Gatlinburg, TN this past October and getting to touch them I've realized just how gentle they are, there was even a 6 ft across female Eagle Ray literally begging for attention, mean, definitely not, these beautiful creatures fill an important niche in the food chain of our Ocean Planet and I'm sure Jonathan Bird would agree!

  9. Get Jonathan to 300K subscribers. Tell your friends! I have, and they said they’re considering it. Yay

  10. I was worried that they would no longer forage and would be quite bad off if people were to not show for a month or so due to idk a hurricane or something

  11. Jonathan I'm from India, I love your shows and I love your show. Wish I could be part of your world. ♥️

  12. I don't understand how this is so safe given what happened to Steve Irwin.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steve_Irwin#Death

  13. Is this place visited frequently by sharks because of the number of stingrays? I mean does the tourists ever have an encounter with sharks who are here for feeding stingrays? (Sorry for my port English. I am just curious to know if sharks ever come around in this area)

  14. this video really showed me that I want to pursue marine biology as a career!!!!! I live in Michigan and I want to go to college in Florida. it sounds really hard to me but I want to try so hard to make my dream happen!!! thank you for this and showing me my passion ???

  15. Hammerhead sharkies like this!!! Lol but this was a great place & a good way to study stingrays!!! Plus who complains at free fish??? Not the rays!!!

  16. On the last part of this video, you seem to recommend this place, the feeding and the disruption of their natural patterns. If you've ever been to Oslob where whale sharks are fed and interaction tours are conducted, do think it's the same as this one? Thanks!

  17. I really love the way you talked and explained. I love your chanel Sir Jonathan Bird's. Huge thanks for showing us how beautiful the sea is! God bless you and your family always!??

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