The Seahorse is an extraordinary little creature, and it is this extraordinariness that is the reason it is now one of the world’s endangered animals.
People want to keep them as pets because they are unusual and exotic-looking; unthinking people want to make a bit of money from them by creating jewellery and taxidermy ornaments; people in some parts of the world still think powdered seahorse is a good treatment for asthma, throat infections, insomnia and abdominal pain. Then there are others who simply harvest seahorses illegally from the wild, in their millions, and sell them by the kilo online as a money-making exercise. This trade in seahorses is driving them to extinction – in 25 – 30 years there may be no seahorses left in the wild.
The curio trade has to be properly policed and offenders brought to account for their crimes – seahorses are protected under Appendix II of CITES and it is an offence to trade in them without the relevant CITES paperwork. Yet, all over the internet, particularly on Facebook and Etsy, seahorses and seahorse products are openly traded. Seahorses die an awful death, baked alive and suffocated in full sun. Is that piece of seahorse jewellery really worth this horror?
The Seahorse Trust is a very small charity totally dedicated to helping save the world’s seahorses. They have years of research and experience with seahorses and have recently started the new Stop the Curio Trade campaign, with particular emphasis at the moment to persuading Facebook and Etsy to remove seahorse sellers from its platform. Some of the sellers on Facebook are selling seahorses in vast numbers. They have succeeded with Ebay, Amazon, Pre-loved, Shpock and Alibaba – these two other giants of the online marketplace need to stop as well and reduce the demand for seahorses.
But they need your help!
Donations – The Seahorse Trust is reliant on donations from seahorse lovers to help fund their work – they advise projects all around the world, including 7 governments, organisations and individuals on all aspects of seahorse education and conservation. They have volunteers in over 30 countries, some scuba diving in the seas to help them record seahorse sightings for the seahorse surveys, others looking out for seahorses for them in seahorse surveys in the sea and for the various illegal trades such as the curio and medicine trades. This year they are hoping to start a project in April/May in Jordan to assist the Jordanian government on seahorse surveys, education and captive breeding of their native seahorses for release back into the wild. This is a tri-country project which includes Jordan, Ireland and The Seahorse Trust.
One of their main projects is the World Seahorse Survey. This was started back in 1994 and it is now the longest-running continuous survey of its kind in the world. The information from this survey is used for the conservation and education about seahorses throughout the world.
You can donate via the Paypal link (or, if you have a Paypal account of your own, you can send a donation directly to their email address – firstname.lastname@example.org). You can also donate the cost of a cup of coffee or two via Ko-fi. The Seahorse Trust donation page has a variety of other ways to donate (including by good old-fashioned cheque!).
Volunteer – If you can volunteer in any way, please do get in touch. Maybe you can do a fundraiser or help with seahorse surveys, for example.
Join The Seahorse Trust – become a valued member of the Seahorse Trust – www.
Adopt a Seahorse – The Seahorse Trust has a number of beautiful seahorses for whom your regular donation of just £4 a month will help towards not just their their protection but other seahorses too – www.
Support them on social media – support them on Facebook by joining the page, sharing their posts and encouraging others to join. This is a fantastic way to share seahorse news and the plight of this species – www.facebook.com/
Facebook Trade – They have an additional page dedicated to stopping the trade in seahorses on Facebook so please do join and share that page too – www.facebook.com/
For more information about The Seahorse Trust please visit their website by clicking here.