A RARE seahorse has been found floating around a Cornish estuary recently.

Only a small number of these fish have been identified in Cornwall over the last decades according to experts.

The little creature was found by Cornwall Council’s nature recovery officer, Alicia Shephard, who spotted the long-snouted seahorse floating around in the shallows during a lunchtime walk alongside an estuary.

In her discovery, Alicia filmed the seahorse as it bobbed around above the seabed – she then reported her discovery to the Environmental Records Centre for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly (ERCCIS).

The spiny seahorse has only been seen seven times in Cornwall and was last reported in the region over 10 years ago in 2014.

The exact location of the sighting is not being disclosed to help protect the species.

Its discovery is being hailed a sign of the improving health of Cornish rivers and estuaries and the ongoing need to protect and restore nature in the region.

Alicia said: “I can’t stress enough how special it is to see a seahorse thriving in Cornwall waters.

“Seahorses are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act and you must have a license to handle them.

“This is an insanely rare species to find and isn’t something most people will ever see in their lifetime.” 

Cllr Martyn Alvey, Cornwall’s member for environment and climate change, added: “This incredible sighting by a member of our nature recovery team highlights the wealth of wildlife we have in Cornwall and the great work we’re doing to protect and restore nature.

“Our Local Nature Recovery Strategy covers our marine habitats which are vital to protecting species such as the seahorse. 

“If you spot rare species such as this do record it with the Environmental Records Centre. If you want some ideas to help protect biodiversity in Cornwall, why not make a Pledge for Nature? There are many ideas at: naturecios.org.uk/pledge”.

Seahorses face challenges in the wild partly because their natural habitats are being degraded and their poor swimming skills place great weight on their ability to cope with climate changes.