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Ocean Park Presents Animal Discovery Fest to Inspire Conservation Featuring Hong Kong’s Largest-ever Exhibition of Seahorses OPCFHK Announces Latest Results of First Local Seahorse Tagging Project


Ocean Park continues to lead efforts to promote marine conservation by presenting for the first time Animal Discovery Fest during this Easter period from 5 April to 11 May. The event features the city’s largest-ever exhibition dedicated to seahorses and their relatives. All of the seahorses are from breeding programmes at other zoos and aquariums around the world, including many species never displayed in Hong Kong before. During the event period, the public will also have an opportunity to join behind-the-scene tours, including a programme available for the first time, where guests can learn about the husbandry of spotted seals in Polar Adventure. At today’s opening ceremony for the seahorse exhibition, the Ocean Park Conservation Foundation, Hong Kong (OPCFHK) announced the latest results of its local seahorse survey populations, revealing that 10 yellow seahorses have been sighted in Hong Kong waters during a survey of 27 sites in 2013. As part of Hong Kong’s first seahorse tagging project, five of the sighted seahorses, being of suitable size, were tagged.

Dr. Allan Zeman, Chairman of Ocean Park, said, “Presenting the seahorse exhibition in Hong Kong has a special significance as the city is an important trading hub of dried seahorses. Indeed, seahorses are typically threatened by overexploitation for uses in traditional Chinese medicine, loss or degradation of natural habitats and bycatch in trawling fisheries. Historical records show that three species of seahorses inhabited local waters, including yellow seahorse, three-spot seahorse and Great seahorse. In recent years, only yellow seahorses were found, with no record of the other two species being sighted. Through this first-ever large-scale exhibition of seahorses and their relatives, we hope to raise awareness of the importance of their conservation. Among the seahorse species featured are the dwarf seahorse, at just one inch in length, and the potbelly seahorse, whose male individuals pump water into its pouch to appeal to the females. Several of the species on display are biologically related to seahorses and a number of seahorse species have never been displayed in Hong Kong before.”

The Secret Lives of Seahorses presented by Sea Horse Mattress Group is a walk-through exhibit with more than a dozen individual tanks, each decorated to replicate the natural habitat of the different species. For instance, ribbon pipehorses, never displayed in Hong Kong before, are presented with the type of seaweed that their body resembles for camouflage. Enriching the immersive experience is a series of educational displays on the lifecycle of seahorses, from growing up, courtship and mating to pregnancy and birth. Seahorses are unique in that it is the male individuals that become pregnant and bear the developing embryos.

Ms. Shadow Sin, Assistant Manager of Scientific Projects, OPCFHK, said, “There are about 54 seahorse species in the world, of which 11 have been listed as ‘vulnerable’ or ‘endangered’ in the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature) Red Li