Due to heavy rains, a flood occurred on Tuesday, 26 September 2023 in the Keurboomsriver and the Bitou river persisting for some time with high water flow. It flushed a significant number of seahorses out of the mouth of the river at low tide. This caused the seahorses to be deposited on the Lookout beach at Plettenberg Bay.
CapeNature’s marine rangers led a herculean effort with the support of the community and up to now more than a thousand seahorses were rescued and 720 have been returned to their natural habitat. They are being put back into the estuaries where they usually occur and where there is a huge eelgrass bed where they seek refuge and shelter and where they find their food.
CapeNature has immense gratitude for the community of Plettenberg Bay and how they came together to help collecting stranded seahorses. The news of the stranded seahorses spread like wildfire on social media and local people, who has a special concern for this precious species, turned up in droves. The combination of many people showing up and many people showing up at the right time made all the difference. With this interaction we could find so many more seahorses. We absolutely commend the public and their actions. It was a huge community effort.
The Knysna seahorse is truly a national treasure. It is South Africa's only endemic seahorse and is one of only two Endangered seahorse species in the world. Found in only three Southern Cape Estuaries (the Knysna, Swartvlei and Keurbooms Estuaries) the Knysna Seahorse is an iconic species for Knysna.