More than 120 endangered baby short-snouted seahorses have been born at a Hampshire aquarium (UK). Their birth, at Portsmouth’s Blue Reef Aquarium, is part of a nationwide captive breeding programme. There are believed to be two separate species of seahorse found in British waters – the short-snouted and the long-snouted. The short-snouted seahorse, or Hippocampus hippocampus, is protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, and is usually found in shallow muddy waters, estuaries or inshore among seaweed. Populations have been discovered along the south coast, in the River Thames, in the Channel Islands and Ireland.
There are about 34 species of seahorse in the world and virtually all of them are under threat from loss of habitat, pollution, the souvenir trade and traditional Far East medicine, which is thought to account for the deaths of more than 20 million seahorses every year.