An undercover investigation warns that seahorses could face extinction within 10 years due to an explosive increase in the amount the creature is illegally used in Chinese traditional medicine.
The U.K.’s Daily Mail reports marine biologist Kealan Doyle secretly filmed the illegal activities in southern China’’s wholesale houses, clinics and health stores.
He says that at least seven times the official estimate is actually being killed each year — a total of about 150 million of the fragile creatures.
“We are not talking about a slow decline here, this is an absolute decimation of this unique creature which has been with us for millions of years,” said Doyle.
Around 70 countries are now catching and selling seahorses to the Chinese medicine market, where they are used to allegedly cure such things as baldness and kidney infections.