The Irish Seahorse Man goes undercover to expose trade in seahorses that will result in their extinction in 20 years. Irish marine biologist Kealan Doyle has gone undercover in China and Indonesia to expose the massive trade in seahorses which is threatening a species, that has survived since the time of the dinosaur.
With the head of a horse, the snout of an aardvark, eyes of a chameleon, pouch of a kangaroo and the tail of a monkey, the seahorse is one the most stunning of all sea creatures.But even more extraordinary is the fact that the seahorse
• is the only species on earth in which the male becomes pregnant,
• remains faithful for life and will die of a broken heart when the female passes away
• And are worth their weight in gold
The documentary narrated by actor John Hurt shows the extradordinary journey that Doyle, known as The Seahorse Man, made to save the species.
Doyle gained exclusive access to people and places no western crew has ever filmed before. He reveals for the first time how the world’s population of seahorses has fallen by 80 per cent since the 1990s. It reports on how 120 million of these extraordinary creatures are now killed every year to satisfy the Chinese insatiable appetite for aphrodisiacs alone. Millions more are killed for traditional Chinese medicinal purposes.
Doyle is leading an international alliance to save the seahorse, helping local communities to breed the them instead of taking them from the wild.Having successfully developed a process for breeding seahorses in captivity over the last 15 years Kealan sets out to convince the Chinese business community that using his methods will help save the traditional industry from ruin and in turn save the seahorse species.
The documentary is part of an overall push by SOS (the Save our Seahorses organisation) to get China, and countries supplying China with seahorses, behind this breeding strategy.In what has been a massive coup for the campaign, an eight minute edit of the documentary with Chinese subtitles will be shown on all internal Chinese flights on their national airline.
In addition, Sealife, the world’s biggest chain of marine life visitor centres, will also be screening a four minute edit of the documentary in their centres globally.
Commenting on the documentary and what it means for the Save our Seahorses campaign, Doyle said: “This isn’t a decline, but rather an absolute decimation of a unique creature which has been around since dinosaurs roamed the earth. In less than 20 years’ time, they will be wiped out forever.
The demand for seahorses needs to be dramatically reduced. We can do this by raising awareness of the need for conservation in China and by farming Seahorses. This will in turn allow natural resources to recover from extreme overfishing”
The documentary, which has been shown all around the world and has won several international awards, will be aired on Monday 20th May at 11:15pm on RTÉ 1.
Kealan Doyle, who is from Portmarnock in Co. Dublin, first hit the screens in 2010 when a documentary series following his quest to breed seahorses in captivity at the Red Cow Roundabout in Dublin became an instant hit with viewers. This series is currently being repeated at 12:25pm on Saturdays.