Reports suggest that Britain’s largest seahorse colony has been decimated by boats dropping their anchors. Studland Bay in Dorset has historically been home to the native spiny and short-snouted seahorses-five years ago, 40 pairs of the former species and one pair of the latter were recorded.

Long snouted seahorse

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However, it’s thought that anchors churning up the seagrass beds where they breed have caused a dramatic decline in numbers, and some conservationists say that the colonies have been wiped out. ‘We are aware that recent surveys have returned a negative result, but we have also received two separate reports of seahorse sightings in Studland Bay within the past fortnight, suggesting the picture is not clear cut,’ explains a Natural England spokesman.

‘We are working closely with Defra and other organisations to help inform decisions on how the seagrass can be conserved.’ The no-anchor zone that was introduced in the area several years ago is no longer in force.

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Image from: The Joint Nature Conservation Committee