“The Manta Story” interactive app represents a groundbreaking collaboration between Four Seasons Maldives and The Manta Trust, a renowned environmental charity. This downloadable app offers users a captivating underwater journey into the world of manta rays, narrated by British actor David Oakes. In line with its ongoing commitment to environmental support and ocean conservation, Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru has partnered with The Manta Trust to create this exceptional interactive application, providing unique insights into the hidden marvels of these extraordinary marine creatures.
Developed by Loopcraft and available as a free download on digital devices, “The Manta Story” app is the latest development in the 17-year conservation partnership between Four Seasons and The Manta Trust. This collaboration began when Guy Stevens, Chief Executive and Founder of The Manta Trust, had his initial life-changing encounter with mantas while working as a marine biologist at Four Seasons Resort Landaa Giraavaru.
The App Experience
The fully interactive VR app takes the viewer on a mesmerizing adventure into the world of manta rays, covering their dazzling courtship, feeding and cleaning rituals, as well as a manta pregnancy and birth. Based on the actual manta ray population studied by Stevens and his team in the Baa Atoll UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve, users can click through to further facts at each stage of the learning journey, and test their knowledge with a quiz.
The app also provides options for backing The Manta Trust, an organization founded by Stevens in 2011, officially registered as a UK-based charity with a mission to globally preserve mantas and their closely related species. Users have the opportunity to contribute through donations, manta adoptions, or becoming part of the ‘Cyclone’ community, a group of supporters committed to the conservation of ocean rays, their kin, and their natural environments.
“I’m super pleased and proud that we were able to create this app together with The Manta Trust and our passionate in-house techies, allowing us to spread our message of ocean conservation around the globe,” comments Four Seasons Regional Vice President and General Manager, Armando Kraenzlin. “Getting up close with these gentle giants is both humbling and awe-inspiring and our mission has always been to inspire as many people as possible to help conserve them and their ocean home.”
An Immersive Experience
Narrating the app with soothing gravitas is British actor, environmentalist and host of ‘Trees a Crowd’ podcast, David Oakes, who relishes taking app users to swim alongside the Maldivian mantas he himself has met in the flesh. Passionate about championing conservation causes, the star of shows like Netflix’s Vikings: Valhalla and ITV’s Victoria uses his influence to support charities including The Woodland Trust, Wildlife Trusts and the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation.
“I’ve always had an affinity for manta rays so I was honoured when Guy and Armando asked me to narrate the Manta Story app,” Oakes explains. “To see so many of these magnificent and gentle giants, almost every time I’ve dived or snorkelled near Landaa Giraavaru – cycloning, surface feeding, rolling and loop-the-looping – is something impossible to take for granted but conservation of our planet’s key megafauna shouldn’t just be a concern for those lucky enough to have had first hand encounters. The app is a beautiful and enjoyable way to get across the story of our planet’s mantas.”
Manta Rays At Landaa Giraavaru
The Manta Story app follows the recent launch of Landaa Giraavaru’s Hologram Room – an opportunity for the whole family to virtually “swim” with the Baa Atoll mantas. Other manta ray education experiences at the Resort include ‘Manta-on- Call’ snorkelling adventures and a Trainee Manta Biologist module that gives conservation-minded teens a serious insight into the world of Manta Trust scientists.
Landaa Giraavaru is also the location of one of the Maldives’ most prominent hubs for marine research. It operates together with local and national environmental agencies and employs ten full-time marine biologists who are actively engaged in groundbreaking conservation initiatives. These projects cover a wide range of activities, including sea turtle rehabilitation, coral propagation, anemone mapping, and other essential efforts. In 2020, the Resort established a partnership with the NOW Force for Good Alliance and EarthCheck, committing to ongoing monitoring and annual Benchmarking Assessments. This commitment ensures that its presence in Baa Atoll is consistently and maximally beneficial to the environment.
“It’s clear to me that without the continued generosity of Four Seasons in the Maldives, The Manta Trust would not exist in its current form,” adds Oakes. “This app is but the dorsal-fin poking above the surface of how deep their collective conservation goals run.”
To find out more manta ray experiences at Four Seasons Resort Landaa Giraavaru, please visit the website.