“Imagine slipping off a boat into warm, aqua blue, waist-deep, Caribbean water. Suddenly, there are hundreds of stingrays swarming around you, sliding against your legs. For some people this is a nightmarishly, terrifying scenario. For others, it’s a tropical wildlife paradise. Either way, it’s what tourists to Stingray City in the Cayman Islands drop millions of dollars each year to experience.
Each stingray on this sandbar off Grand Cayman earns the islands about $500,000 every year in tourism revenue. Globally, this kind of interactive wildlife experience is big business, generating about $165 billion each year worldwide. Moreover, interacting with animals can make even the least outdoorsy among us passionate about protecting wildlife.
But what about the stingrays? How is this normally solitary creature handling life in the public spotlight? ”