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Last Updated: Wednesday, 12 December 2007, 15:47 GMT
Breeding woes for lonely seahorse
Rocky the seahorse
The seahorse was named after Sylvester Stallone's movie character
Just one seahorse has survived from a Scottish breeding programme intended to help replenish endangered populations in the wild.

The seahorse is the sole survivor from hundreds born at the Scottish Sealife Sanctuary near Oban in February.

The sanctuary manager said further attempts would be made to nurture the hippocampus reidi species, otherwise known as the slender seahorse.

The creature, which is just one inch tall, has been named Rocky by staff.

The centre manager, Alex Blackman, said: "There were 200 to 300 born and the vast majority died in the first 24 hours.

"Only 70 originally survived and now we have only got this one baby left.

"But this is really an achievement, because seahorses are really fragile and delicate and are so difficult to keep alive."

Mr Blackman said the parent seahorses, brought to the centre from the Sea Life group's HQ in Weymouth in 2004, did well to survive so long.

We view Rocky's survival is a success story, not a failure
Alex Blackman
Scottish Sealife Sanctuary

Staff are now making regular checks on the baby seahorse, which has a tank to itself, and are feeding it brine shrimp.

Mr Blackman said: "It has survived almost one year now, and is only about an inch tall, so it looks like it will stay alive.

"There are hundreds born in every birth - up to 600 in some species - and this little baby must have been the fittest one.

"Even in the wild only a few would survive."

The seahorse has been named Rocky, after Sylvester Stallone's movie character.

Mr Blackman added: "We view Rocky's survival as a success story, not a failure because it is incredibly difficult to breed seahorses in captivity.

"We will use what we have learned this time round and hopefully we will have greater success with our next batch."

About 20 million seahorses are caught every year to supply ingredients for traditional Chinese medicines.

SEE ALSO
Tiny seahorse identified
12 May 03 |  Science/Nature
Seahorses in peril
08 Feb 00 |  Science/Nature

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