Rare Seahorses Found in River Thames
Short-snouted seahorses have set up a new home in the river that was once so heavily polluted it was declared 'biologically dead' in the 1950s.
The discovery of the animal in brackish tidal waters as far upriver as London was kept under wraps by the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) until the species had been granted protected status. Little data are known about the seahorses' populations.
Conservationists had feared that the bizarrely shaped fish might attract unwanted attention, such as from aquarium-trade collectors, said the ZSL's Alison Shaw.
An increase in plankton due to Climate change and warmer sea temperatures may help explain the seahorses' appearance in the river, according to Shaw.
The government declared the Thames biologically dead in the 1950s, and various groups have worked to rehabilitate it for the past two decades.
These efforts have led to "a vast improvement" in the Thames' water quality, Shaw said.
"This latest discovery demonstrates the importance of the Thames estuary as a wildlife habitat."