According to local anglers, October is the best month to find Thornback Rays in the River Mersey. One of the most popular animals on display at World Museum's aquarium in Liverpool, they are also the focus of our new public appeal called RayWatch.
We're working with the Sharktrust to tag Thornback Rays in the Liverpool Bay area and monitor them in the wild. I work in the Development Office and volunteer in the aquarium so I've been making 'Ray Champion' packs and I'm currently on-call to go on an all-day tagging trip on the Mersey once the weather is right!
It's funny how many people don't realise we have Thornback Rays in the Mersey. I'm excited that RayWatch is going to help us learn more about the rays and most importantly, how we can help to protect them.
The first thing I noticed about the Thornbacks when I saw them at World Museum, was that they are such a beautiful colour. They are covered in a pattern quite similar to that of a leopard. They also have thorny tails (hence their name!), which aren’t dangerous to humans. I've been told that Thornbacks rays aren’t actually rays at all – they are skates, who lay eggs rather than give birth to live young.
For £10 you can adopt a ray; add your Thornback Ray's name to our RayWatch web page and get updates on it's location and the whole RayWatch project. For £25 you can become a Ray Champion. In addition to adopting a ray, you also get a cuddly ray toy (pictured) and a family ticket for a behind the scenes tour of the aquarium at World Museum in Liverpool.
I'm telling all my friends and family about RayWatch - it's for a great cause - so join me in supporting our conservation effort!