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Save Our Seahorses (SOS)

It’s common knowledge that seahorses are marine animals. Seahorses are mainly found in saltwater but how many of us know that yellow seahorses, Hippocampus kuda, can be found at Sungai Pulai? Thanks to Save Our Seahorses (SOS), more people are starting to find out about these interesting species that have created their habitats on our shores.

Officially started in 2005, Save Our Seahorses is a non-profit group with 10 active members who research, educate, create awareness and disseminate information on marine habitats. They have since welcomed over 1000 volunteers, scientists, and guests. Seahorses are the group’s flagship species when it comes to their conservation efforts. Their late founder, Choo Chee Kuang, was the pioneer of seahorse research studies. He spent most of his time in Sungai Pulai and its surrounding areas studying the seahorses’ unique population of Johor.

Believers of the hands-on approach, SOS members keep in contact with various in-field stakeholders on conservation matters. They have tagged over 800 individual seahorses and identified multiplied seagrass meadows. For 11 years, they also worked on the Tanjung Kupang seagrass meadow.

SOS efforts grew from small-scaled activities to a full-blown citizen science bimonthly survey. Aside from the citizen science volunteer programme they conduct regularly, they also engage education bodies and the public to spread awareness on marine life and conduct research with students and scientists from academic institutions.

Project Leader & Chairperson of SOS, Dr. Adam Lim, finds research and networking the most satisfying part of his work. “Conservation does not only involve science. It takes the participation of various stakeholders and our knowledge of relevant, if not all fields, to gain a better approach and understanding to move forward,” he shared.

On a memorable day in 2015, the SOS team assembled on short notice and saved 51 seahorses from sand burial due to an ongoing development project. As part of a developing country, the team understands that conservation and overall growth of Malaysia stand on different points of view. Dr. Adam Lim believes that multiple engagements with all stakeholders can bring solutions, compromise, and understanding.

After the completion of their project in 2020, the group will restructure its projects and activities to cover other locations in West Malaysia. Currently without a fixed base, their activities cover areas in Perak, Penang, and Johor. They plan to launch a new citizen programme in 2020 in Johor.