Australian Scientists Build 'Hotels' for Seahorses in Largest Release of Species Ever

Aug 2, 2023

Thought Question: “The way to love anything is to realize that it may be lost.” What does this quote mean to you?

Writer GK Chesterton once said: “The way to love anything is to realize that it may be lost.”

So perhaps the release of 380 endangered White’s Seahorses in Australia’s Sydney Harbor is much more than an act of conservation. Scientists say it's the biggest seahorse reintroduction ever.

The scientists who released them went so far as to make eight “seahorse hotels.'' The hotels are metal cages covered in algae and sponges. Only small creatures can enter and leave them. There, the little creatures can eat, mate, and stay safe from predators. The White’s Seahorse is medium-sized for its species. It grows no longer than six inches.

“Having a positive contribution to such an amazing species … is amazing,” Mitchell Brennan, a marine biologist, told The Guardian. “They’re so fascinating.” 

Brennan runs the Sydney Seahorse Project. He put on scuba gear to escort the ocean creatures to their new homes. The seahorses are tagged for monitoring. The Sydney Institute of Marine Science and Sydney’s University of Technology work together on the project.  

Scientists launched the project after the White’s Seahorse was added to a list of endangered species in 2020. The White's Seahorse has had a 95% decline in their numbers along Australia’s southeastern coast in recent years. Experts think this is due, in part, to the disappearance of algae, sea grass, and coral.

Earlier releases of these creatures have shown strong results. In 2021, year after the first release, 20% of the seahorses remained in the hotels. And 1 in 10 were pregnant.

“It’s a really positive first sign,” Brennan told Reuters.

Photo from Reuters.

What word best describes the actions of the marine scientists in the article? (Common Core RI.5.6; RI.6.6)
a. unoriginal
b. creative
c. controversial
d. ineffective
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