Short-snouted seahorses are living in the Thames estuary, as far in as Dagenham in East London, a wildlife survey has found.

Short-snouted seahorses (Hippocampus hippocampus) are elusive, and little is known about them. The seahorses were discovered during surveys over the past 18 months, but this was kept secret until yesterday, as the seahorses were not fully protected until then.

Short-snouted and long-snouted seahorses now have full legal protection from being killed, caught or disturbed.

Alison Shaw, Marine and Freshwater Conservation Programme Manager of the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), said: that finding these ‘amazing creatures’ demonstrated that ‘the Thames is becoming a sustainable biodiverse habitat for aquatic life.

‘It is not clear how endangered short-snouted seahorses are because there is little data known, so every scrap of information is valuable.’

Ms Shaw describes finding the short-snouted seahorses living in the Thames estuary, as far in as Dagenham in East London, as ‘like finding treasure’.

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