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Hundreds of Endangered Baby Seahorses Released at Balmoral

The Sydney Seahorse Project released 200 endangered seahorses back into the wild at Balmoral this week.

This release marks a significant milestone in the Sydney Seahorse Project’s ongoing efforts to conserve the endangered White’s seahorse (Hippocampus whitei). Habitat loss and extreme weather events have severely impacted these delicate creatures in Sydney Harbour and Port Stephens.

White’s baby seahorses being released into a seahorse hotel. Image: SIMS / Tom Burd

The Sydney Seahorse Project is a collaboration between SIMS, the University of Technology Sydney, and the NSW Department of Primary Industries. SIMS, located in the historic buildings at Chowder Bay and Georges Heights in Mosman, houses a dedicated breeding program for the endangered species. Here, scientists meticulously create the perfect conditions for these delicate creatures to thrive, ultimately aiming to repopulate their dwindling populations in the wild.

Back in February, the project installed special “seahorse hotels” just off the Balmoral jetty. These clever structures mimic natural seahorse habitats, providing much-needed shelter and breeding grounds. The hotels are now teeming with a variety of marine life, creating a vibrant ecosystem ideal for the incoming baby seahorses.

The installation of a seahorse hotel at Balmoral. Image: SIMS

Following the Balmoral release, the project has plans to release more seahorses into Gamay (Botany Bay) in collaboration with the Gamay Rangers Traditional Owners.

Local scuba divers are also encouraged to participate in monitoring the released seahorses by submitting photos via the iNaturalist website. These images will provide valuable data on how the seahorses are adapting to their new home.

Earlier this month, the Hon Tanya Plibersek MP, Minister for the Environment and Water took part in the release of 100 White’s seahorses into Mosman’s Chowder Bay. The Project is supported by a $359,000 investment from the Government’s $24 million Saving Native Species program.

White’s seahorses. Image: SIMS

In excellent news for the project, an endangered White’s Seahorse was discovered at Cockatoo Island for the first time ever, thanks to a project funded by the government to save our endangered species. It is the furthest up Sydney Harbour that a White’s Seahorse has been recorded, and a positive sign that there could be even more.

The Sydney Seahorse Project 

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Image credits: SIMS, Tom Burd.

Main image: jackleophoto