Projects Abroad UK Fund Fact-Finding Mission for Top Seahorse Experts in Order to Re-Focus Southeast Asian Conservation Project

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Seahorses in Southeast Asia receive a protective boost as volunteering organisation announces a new partnership and a new focus for its Cambodian conservation project.

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This trip has allowed us to devise a wide range of projects that Projects Abroad volunteers will be able to assist in, knowing that their experience will directly conserve species and habitat in the wild.

They regularly feature on lists of endangered species, but seahorses rarely get the coverage afforded to more high-profile marine conservation causes such as turtles and whales. Now, seahorses in one corner of the globe have received a protective boost as Projects Abroad announced a new partnership and a new focus for their Cambodian conservation project.

In June the organisation, which runs professional and conservation volunteer programs throughout the world, funded a research trip to Cambodia for two leading seahorse experts, Neil Garrick-Maidment from The Seahorse Trust and Kealan Doyle from Save Our Seahorses (based in Ireland). The country’s coast, on the tropical Gulf of Thailand, offers a unique opportunity for conservationists because its seahorse population is so accessible, and as a result of the visit Projects Abroad’s conservation efforts here will focus increasingly on gaining a greater understanding of these creatures.

“Very little is actually known about seahorses in the wild, so to have Neil and Kealan visit the project, and to enter into a partnership with The Seahorse Trust, is an honour for us,” said Projects Abroad’s Cambodia Project Coordinator Carly Atkins. “Their visit meant that we were able to restructure our work in this area so we can conduct some really important research and understand the local ecosystem as a whole.”

With millions of seahorses used in the traditional medicine trade every year, illegal fishing and trade is a constant threat, with some conservationists believing that the species could be extinct within 10 years. As well as cleaning up the beach and monthly reef surveys, volunteers will now be involved in specific tasks such as locating and identifying seahorses and helping to preserve them and their habitat from, for example, trawling. Through the partnership, the experts will remain involved in the implementation of the research project, along with Marine Conservation Cambodia.

Volunteers, who have already achieved so much, are crucial to the long term future of the environment in Cambodia. Neil said: “This trip has allowed us to devise a wide range of projects that Projects Abroad volunteers will be able to assist in, knowing that their experience will directly conserve species and habitat in the wild.”

About Projects Abroad

Projects Abroad is one of the leading organisations for people wanting to volunteer overseas. We offer a diverse range of international service projects, plus the opportunity to become part of one of our volunteer communities abroad.

Our continuous presence overseas and unparalleled in-country support from international staff ensure that your experience will be far more worthwhile and genuine than those of the average tourist.

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David Flaschner
Projects Abroad UK
+44 (0) 1903 708 300.
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