Chennai: Taking the help of captive breeding techniques, the Zoological Survey of India here is making efforts to increase the population of sea horses.
Sea horses have been introduced at the marine aquarium at the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) premises here in an environment, which is identical to their natural ecosystem.
Sea horses are generally found living together with Pipefishes and Dragon fishes along the coral reef areas.
According to the authorities at the marine aquarium, seahorses play a vital role in protecting the coastal lines.
They protect the coral reef, which acts as a buffer against the waves, continuously..and "if the reefs die then the waves will come in and the land will erode," ZSI officials
"We have never seen a sea horse in our life, probablyin pictures or TVs we have seen sea horses. This is a very rare exposure we are getting here and we are very happy that
it is being kept here and protected," a visitor said. About a decade ago, 9.75 tonnes of sea horses were exported from India.
The declining population of sea horses in 2001 forced the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests to categorise them under Schedule I Part II A of the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972. Around five different species of sea horses are found in the Indian coral reef areas and the one in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands are said to grow as long as 14 inches.
The sea horses, which have great medicinal value, are also used as ornaments and aquarium exhibits, officials said.