These dead seahorses were found near Knysna's Red Bridge.
KNYSNA NEWS - Barely three weeks after two people tried to sell live Knysna seahorses to a member of the Knysna Basin Project (KBP) Mike Davies, on Wednesday, March 18, a young Knysna resident found three dead seahorses in the vicinity of Red Bridge.
The Knysna seahorse (Hippocampus capensis) is an endangered species according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature's (IUCN) Red Data List and it is a protected species under the South African Environmental Management Biodiversity Act of 2004.
A Knysna resident's young daughter found three dead seahorses on Tuesday, April 7 near the area where a another concerned Knysna resident had pulled out an illegal crab net. The worried mother said, "In all the years that we have lived in Knysna, we have never picked up dead seahorses. Today we stopped at a small clearing just before the Red Bridge and in that tiny stretch of beach my daughter picked up three dead seahorses! What's going on?"
On Monday, April 13, SANParks’ senior ranger for Knysna, Owen Govender confirmed that an illegal crab net had recently been discovered and that it might be the cause of the death of several seahorses in the Red Bridge area. Govender said the resident who had discovered the net, had found dead seahorses in and around it.
To prevent people from robbing the Knysna Estuary of its treasures, Govender requested the public to be vigilant around the estuary and to report any suspicious activity to rangers and the SAPS.
Louw Claassens, KBP citizen scientist, said on Tuesday, March 24: "It is illegal to disturb, handle or remove any seahorses from its natural estuarine habitat. The Knysna seahorse is iconic to Knysna and all locals should stand together in protecting this amazing animal!"
The Knysna Seahorse Status (KySS) project forms part of Claassens' PhD study through Rhodes University.
Nandi Mgwadlamba, spokesperson for SANParks in Knysna, said marine rangers of the Knysna section of the Garden Route National Park (GRNP) have beefed up efforts to apprehend people who try to sell seahorses.
Both SANParks and KBP fear that the earlier attempt to sell seahorses may suggest wider exploitation of the seahorses or can kindle illegal trade if the dealers suspect that they can make money from Knysna's seahorses.
A Knysna resident found dead seahorse in and around this illegal crab net, discovered in the vicinity of the Red Bridge.