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Baby White’s seahorses check in to Sydney Harbour hotels

Kamahl Cogdon, September 16, 2021 6:30PM Kids News

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A diver releases some of the more than 140 baby White’s seahorses into their new “Seahorse hotel” home in Sydney Harbour. Picture: Sea Life Sydney Aquarium media_cameraA diver releases some of the more than 140 baby White’s seahorses into their new “Seahorse hotel” home in Sydney Harbour. Picture: Sea Life Sydney Aquarium

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Reading level: green

A batch of baby seahorses has checked in to two special “hotels” in Sydney Harbour as part of a project to boost wild populations of the threatened species.

More than 140 baby White’s seahorses, that were bred at Sea Life Sydney Aquarium, were recently released into newly-built habitats nicknamed “seahorse hotels” at two harbour locations.

The “seahorse hotels”, also known as “SeaBnBs”, are habitats that have been created in the harbour to provide a home for the White’s seahorse, Australia’s only threatened seahorse species.

media_cameraA White’s seahorse makes itself at home in its new home in Sydney Harbour. Picture: Sea Life Sydney Aquarium

Wild populations of White’s seahorses, also known as Sydney seahorses, have been in decline because of habitat loss and degradation* of their harbour home.

The project, a joint effort led by Sea Life Sydney Aquarium and the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) Fisheries, started in 2019 with the placement of 27 “seahorse hotels” in Sydney Harbour.

The first aquarium-bred seahorse babies were released into the “hotels” the following year, followed by the second release of more than 140 seahorse babies on September 9 this year.

media_cameraA White’s seahorse swims into its “seahorse” hotel” habitat after being released by a diver in Sydney Harbour. Picture: Sea Life Sydney Aquarium

“We hope they’ll go on to breed all around Sydney Harbour and the east coast of Australia to help White’s seahorses flourish*,” said Sea Life Sydney Aquarium curator Laura Simmons.

The “seahorse hotels” resembled* crates when they were first lowered into the water. But they transformed into natural habitats as corals, algae and marine animals like sea squirts and sponges moved in, providing protection from predators and a ready supply of food.

The biodegradable* structures slowly collapse over time under the weight of the marine growth, leaving a perfect natural home for the seahorses.

media_cameraA diver prepares to release a batch of baby seahorses into the wild in Sydney Harbour. Picture: Sea Life Sydney Aquarium

“Just last year the White’s seahorse was listed as an endangered* species in NSW and this collaborative* project is helping provide artificial* homes for seahorses to live on in Sydney Harbour,” said DPI Fisheries senior marine scientist Dr David Harasti.

“The captive breeding program and seahorse hotels initiative* is providing hope for this iconic* … marine species and will hopefully contribute to their numbers increasing in the wild.”

Release of White's seahorses

GLOSSARY

  • degradation: when the quality of something is reduced or made worse
  • flourish: successful, developing quickly and strongly
  • resembled: looked like
  • biodegradable: able to break down in the environment so it doesn’t become pollution
  • endangered: at very high risk of becoming extinct in the wild
  • collaborative: involving two or more people or organisations working together
  • artificial: made by humans, not occurring naturally
  • initiative: an action to achieve a goal
  • iconic: famous, popular, easily recognised

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QUICK QUIZ

  1. How many baby seahorses were released into the wild on September 9?
  2. What other name are White’s seahorses known by?
  3. What two nicknames have the seahorse habitats been given?
  4. What body of water were the seahorses released into?
  5. Where were the baby seahorses bred before their release?

LISTEN TO THIS STORY

CLASSROOM ACTIVITIES
1. Create a Post
Design and write a post for a seahorse website advertising the Seahorse Hotel or SeaBnB. Your purpose is to encourage Seahorses to come and live in the Seahorse Hotel or SeaBnB.

Time: allow 25 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English, Visual Arts, Visual Communication Design

2. Extension
What else do you think will need to be done to help the seahorses live in the wild? Write a list of ideas that you think marine scientists could do to help seahorses thrive in the wild again.

Time: allow 25 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English, science

VCOP ACTIVITY
Imaginative Dialogue
Imagine you were there during the event being discussed in the article.

Create a conversation between two characters from the article. (You may need, or want, to include yourself as one of the characters). Don’t forget to try to use facts and details from the article to help make your dialogue as realistic as possible.

Go through your writing and highlight any punctuation you have used in green. Make sure you check carefully the punctuation used for the dialogue and ensure you have opened and closed the speaking in the correct places.

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