The spiny seahorses have been glimpsed in Dorset.
One of the rare upsides of the nationwide lockdown was the benefits it brought to our natural world. Whilst London saw a 50% fall in toxic air and a herd of deer which moved into the neighbourhood of Harold Hill, good news has been happening all over the country – and today, we bring you word from Studland Bay in Dorset, where a colony of endangered spiny seahorses has appeared as a result of the calmer, cleaner waters.
The seahorses hadn’t been spotted in the bay for two years, but on a survey dive last month, representatives of The Seahorse Trust noticed a colony of sixteen seahorses had set up camp there. It’s believed that fewer people on the beach and in the water, coupled with a reduction in boat traffic, has allowed to seagrass regenerate – which invited a return for the seahorses.
Spiny seahorses are one of only two native British seahorse species – the other being short-snouted seahorses – and Studland Bay is the only place in the UK where the two exist together. The area’s regeneration has been helped by the fact that Studland Bay became a protected Marine Conservation Zone in 2019, but lockdown appears to have hit fast-forward on the recovery of the seahorse population there. The hope now is that their resurgence can be sustained after the lockdown ends, to conserve a vital (and cute!) part of the British ecology.
Also published on Medium.