Sad Seahorse Story

Knysna Seahorse

Knysna Seahorse

The Sedgefield and Knysna lagoons are home to the rarest seahorse on earth, Hippocampus capensis. The only known estuarine seahorse, capensis has the most limited distribution and is listed as the most threatened seahorse species in the world.

The story below, from the Independent OnLine, is quite heartbreaking – poor faithful little pregnant man.

A single father of two is having to come to terms with the fact that there will be no more romance in his life after he and his partner were separated earlier.

The gent in question, a Knysna seahorse, was removed from the Garden Route town’s lagoon earlier this year by a concerned member of the public who found him floating, exhausted and barely able to swim.

The seahorse was taken to a National Parks (SANParks) aquarium, where he recovered well and where, less than a month later, he gave birth to a brood of babies.

Male seahorses have incubation pouches and give birth.

Two of the seahorse’s brood flourished and are nearly fully grown – but, says Francois Joubert of Garden Route Aquariums, it’s likely the small steed will not have any more young.

That’s because seahorses mate for life, and the seahorse’s female partner was left behind in the lagoon.

“In this light, we ask that people not make too hasty a judgement if they come across creatures who appear to be struggling in the wild,” Joubert said.

“Our actions, although well intentioned, may have drastic negative implications in the long run. If any animal clearly is in trouble the appropriate authorities should be consulted before intervening.”

The Knysna seahorse, or Hippocampus capensis, is one of 30 species of seahorses found worldwide, Joubert said.

This seahorse is endemic to the Knysna region and can only be found from Keurbooms River in Plettenberg Bay throughout the Knysna lagoon and up to Swartvlei in Sedgefield.

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2 Responses to “Sad Seahorse Story”


  1. 1 shoreacres October 12, 2009 at 7:22 pm

    Oh, dear. That’s truly heartbreaking – and such a wonderful little creature. I feel so badly for him….

    It was a hard lesson for me to learn when I first started paying attention to birds. I’d often see fledglings in the bushes and think they needed help, when in fact the parents were close at hand and the babies were fine. Human intervention needs to be informed by some knowledge and not just the “Awwwww…. cute” reflex.

    The more I learn about your area the more I think you’re in a perfect place to develop an eco-tour-istic bed and breakfast.
    It’s quite the thing in Central America, and there’s no reason it couldn’t be on the Garden Route, too. I suspect your bird and butterfly population already draw quite a crowd.

    • 2 Jeannine October 13, 2009 at 12:33 pm

      Poor chap – and he goes through a difficult birth process which can last for up to two days, usually delivering between 5 and 190 babies! Our friend was only left with two.

      You’re spot on, this is a perfect eco-tourist destination and the area has done a lot to market itself that way. We get quite a few international visitors, mostly from Europe, but I see latest stats show a marked increase in visitors from the States. I think we will benefit from the dollar weakening so dramatically against the euro – your buck goes a lot further here!


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