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Seahorses ‘are facing oblivion in 10 years’ after stocks are savaged by Chinese medicine industry


'Facing oblivion': Conservationists fear that seahorses could be wiped out by the Chinese medicine industry

Seahorses could be wiped out within ten years, say conservationists.
Stocks are being savaged by the Chinese medicine industry which reveres them as a catch-all cure for everything from impotence to kidney problems and baldness.
Undercover filming found at least 150 million of the fragile creatures are now killed to make its products every year in China - seven times the official figure.
Campaigners say demand there is soaring every year, and claim some seahorse products have been found in the expanding network of medicine shops abroad, even in Britain where they it is illegal to sell them.

Marine biologist Kealan Doyle posed as a potential supplier to gain access to wholesalers, clinics and health stores in southern China.
He found one market in the city of Guangzhou sells 20million seahorses a year alone.
CITES – the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species - say that is the size of the whole trade worldwide.

Controversy: A range of Chinese medicines, including a rhino horn have attracted criticism in the past

Mr Doyle said: ‘It’s a huge underestimate. I visited stores which had something like 30,000 dried seahorses in bags piled from floor to ceiling and there are 6,000 such stores in Hong Kong alone.
‘We are not talking about a slow decline here, this is an absolute decimation of this unique creature which has been with us for millions of years. At this rate, it will be wiped out in between 10 and 20 years.’

Medicines: Seahorses have been used in Chinese medicine as they are thought to cure baldness and kidney infection amongst other things

Seahorses have long fascinated humans. A fish with a horse’s head, a monkey’s tail and the colour-changing abilities of a lizard, they mate for life, and perform a mating dance together every single morning, at the end of which the female places her eggs in the male’s abdominal pouch.
The male which then becomes pregnant and gives birth, the only creature in the world to do so, having up to 4,000 young in one go, although only a handful will survive into adulthood.

source: dailymail