Seriously, is there anyone out there who is a seahorse hater? I don't think I've ever heard of someone who despised the gentle aquatic oddities who are as paternal as they come (male seahorses famously carry and raise the young) and seem to have floated in from a fairy story. I know whenever I see them in aquariums, my eyes alike widen in wonder. Seahorses are badass in a very magical way.
But those seahorses, only about 2 inches long at their maximum and found in the Gulf of Mexico, are under threat. In response, the Center for Biological Diversity, based in Phoenix, Ariz., has begun a petition to have dwarf seahorses protected under the Endangered Species Act by the Marine Fisheries Service. Your signature on the petition, which will be considered in comments, which are open through July 3.
Why are these tiny creatures threatened now? For the same reasons that affect many ocean-dwelling creatures: Pollution and loss of habitat.
According the to the Change.org petition, "The smallest seahorse in America, the dwarf seahorse faces big problems: water quality degradation in the Gulf of Mexico, pollution from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and cleanup and, most importantly, loss of their seagrass habitat.
Dwarf seahorses are habitat specialists, so as seagrasses disappear, the seahorses vanish with them. More than 50 percent of Florida seagrasses have been destroyed since 1950, and "in some areas losses are as steep as 90 percent," according to the petition.
Learn more about dwarf seahorses here. (Did you know that the Guinness Book of World Records qualifies them as the slowest moving fish of all?)