Save Our Seahorses

After reading articles about the threats towards marine ecosystem in Malaysia, I discovered a volunteer program which intended to save a marine animal which I had never thought of it before – seahorses.

This non-profit group named Save Our Seahorses (SOS), was established in 2004 by a group of students from University Malaysia Terengganu (UMT) with the mission to conserve the Pulai River Estuary at Johor, by conducting research, education, outreach programmes, information dissemination and volunteer programmes.

In Malaysia, the only species found primarily in estuaries is the spotted seahorse, Hippocampus kuda and lives mainly in the Pulai River Estuary due to the large density of seagrass beds which are habitats of seahorses. However, due to development and other human activities, the population of seahorses have decreased by over 80% within a decade and are faced with extinction.

The volunteer’s program offered by SOS is held every month.

There are several days where the tides are low enough to expose the  seagrass bed and within these hours before tide rises, volunteers will carry out activities such as seahorse and pipefish surveying, seagrass monitoring using transect and quadrats, dugong feeding trail survey and others.

It’s sound like an interesting way to save the marine ecosystem.

Other than that, SOS also introduces other species of seahorses which are Hippocampus bargibanti and H. denise. These species were first found in the waters of Semporna, Sabah. They are able to camouflage themselves close to their hosts, gorgonian seafans with their unique appearances.

They then become one of the main attraction of divers and underwater photographers. Due to the increase in the numbers of tourists and divers, these species have been exposed to the threats due to irresponsible recreational diving practices.

Research and information collection are carried out to save these species but volunteers are required to have an expert in deep sea diving and assistants researcher underwater. Thus, I think it’s a good opportunity for those who have a diving license and have studied marine science.

I would totally support a Greenpulse plan to join in this volunteer programme and make it our first step in conserving the marine ecosystem.

By Pang See Min

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One Response

  1. well done See Min!

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