Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Let's do our bit in saving Endangered Species

Captive Bred Reidi SeahorseSeahorses are beautiful, amazing animals cataloged in genus Hippocampus and family Syngnathidae. Seahorses are found in shallower seas of tropical and temperate zones around the world. Inspite of their fragility, they were perceived to be a symbol of strength and power. All Seahorses or chameleon of sea are listed as endangered species by CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, also known as the Washington Convention). Their number is dramatically decreasing not only because they are a kind of food but also because of destruction of their habitat. A typical seahorse habitat includes shallow estuaries and algal reefs that are common to ocean shorelines in tropical and subtropical areas around globe. These areas are being overdeveloped, which has increased amount of pollution and freshwater run-off into their habitat.

Tank-Bred Seahorses

A large number of aquaculture facilities around the world, mainly in Hawaii and New Zealand, have begun captive breeding and raising of different species of seahorses. These facilities not only serve as an alternate source for seahorses for aquarium trade, they also provide an increased knowledge of requirements needed by this fish. One breeding species of Hawaiian facility, H. capenis, is first species that was added to endangered species list. These aquaculture facilities will help in protecting species of seahorse from becoming extinct in future.

Advantages of tank-bred seahorses:

Tank raised seahorse accept frozen food much more readily than a wild harvested specimen. Inability to get wild seahorses to feed, is main reason for their poor success rate in aquariums. It takes a long time and training to teach a wild harvested specimen to accept frozen food.

Aqua cultured seahorses reared and lived under aquarium conditions breed in home aquarium more frequently and successfully than their wild harvested counterparts.

They have less chance of carrying disease and parasites that are common with wild harvested fish. Wild harvested seahorses have been notorious for introducing diseases into home aquarium and result in system wide losses.

Protection of wild-born seahorses by CITES prove to be in best interest for everyone involved. Aquatic enthusiasts will love these
tank-bred seahorses as they prove to be longer lived and breed more readily in home aquarium. Aquaculture of seahorses may be only way to avoid extinction of some of it's species. Finally, because of new status of these fish, it will raise awareness of effects that coastal development has on our oceans and reefs, and will hopefully make conservation a part of future design.

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