PHOTOGRAPHER'S QUEST: Annie Owens would like to find the girl in this picture who called in a whipray.
PHOTOGRAPHER'S QUEST: Annie Owens would like to find the girl in this picture who called in a whipray.

Search for mystery stingray whisperer

MOST would recoil at the sight of a venomous sea creature, but one young girl amazed an audience on the Noosa River with her ability to call one in for a pat.

Annie Owens, of Tinbeerwah, was among the spectators near O-Boat Hire last weekend and quickly snapped a picture of the girl with her arm outstretched to a leopard whipray.

Ms Owens said she would love to find the girl in the photo to share it with her.

"I just clicked away and I happened to get the girl's arm in the photo, and I thought, I bet she'd like to get a photo of this," Ms Owens said.

"It'd be really good to find the girl. She was probably 10 or 12."

Ms Owens said she was swimming in the water when she noticed a commotion.

"There were heaps of people around and we'd been looking at a jellyfish," she said.

"Then I was in the water and I saw people looking at something else again.

"On the beach, it (the whipray) was swimming along parallel to the edge of the water in the shallows.

"This girl would bend down and click her fingers, like you would a dog, I suppose, then it would turn left, and head straight in for a pat.

"Then it'd go off again and swim along."

Ms Owens said a group of three young girls gave the creature a pat every time it was called in.

"One of them said to me it was soft but it was slimy. They were telling me they were patting it.

"It was amazing - it would swim towards her, get a pat, and then off it went again.

"It did it a few times. It was quite stunning to watch.

"It came in with its little beady eyes. Most people would be scared of them."

Ms Owens said the stingray was about two-foot round, and was quite placid.

Website Barrier Reef Australia states whiprays are part of the stingray family, and only attack if they have been stepped on or threatened.



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