Endangered species in Africa
Knysna Seahorse & Cape Vulture
By: Karim ghaleb
Wednesday 27th of December, 2017
The Knysna seahorse also known with its
scientific name (Hippocampus capensis) is the
most endangered seahorse in the world. It is known by its horse shaped head and
a muscular tail that they use as an anchor. Knysna seahorses are only
discovered in the Knysna, Keurbooms and Swartvleiestuaries on the south shore
of South Africa. They are green to brown in color and grow to about 12cm in
length. They live at depths of 50cm to 8m, on sandy bottoms or around plants.
The knysna seahorse’s population is estimated to be 62,000 and decreasing due to
their exceptionally limited distribution range as they are endemic to a few
southern Cape estuaries.
seahorse prefers to swim in pairs with their tails linked together. They
avoid predators by camouflaging into the color of underwater plants. Due to the
fact that it is too bony and they cannot digest it, not many marine predators
eat the Knysna seahorse, with an exception to crabs.
The Knysna seahorse is mostly found in quiet and deep
habitats throughout the world, from around 45°S to 45°N and live in protected
areas, for instance, sea grass beds, bays, coral reefs, or mangroves. The
seahorse has no stomach that is the reason it needs to graze continually
because food travels through their stomach rapidly. They have to eat up to 3000
little copepods daily to get the vitality they required. The knysna
seahorses are one of a kind while giving birth because the male seahorse gives birth to offspring
and the female lays her eggs in the male’s pouch and when they are ready, the
babies hatch out of the pouch into the water.
Why is the knysna seahorse endangered?
The knysna seahorse is among the most
jeopardized species, which is a consequence of their astoundingly confined
spread as they are endemic to two or three southern Cape estuaries. Another reason is because of the massive pollution we
are doing to the waters by dumping fuels and other chemicals into the ocean,
and it has a restricted and fragmented distribution, only known
in a few estuaries. Its habitat is highly threatened by development and water poising.
The seahorse is a very important part of the ecosystem; they need to be
protected for ecological, biological, economic, and medical reasons. They
are important predators on bottom-dwelling organisms; removing them
may disrupt ecosystems. Only the male becomes pregnant and many seahorse species
are mates for life.
about the knysna seahorse
no teeth or stomach so they digest the food very quickly they always have
to eat to stay alive and can eat around 3,000 shrimps or more a day.
are committed and mate for life.
are only very few animal species on Earth, where the male bears the unborn
young by freeing the female to produce more eggs right away and thus they
reproduce by going through a long courtship dance that lasts up to 8
hours. This dance is done by spinning around, changing colors and swimming
side by side.
breeding, the female seahorse releases up to 50 eggs into a sack on the
The eggs are carried in the male’s pouch to
keep them warm until they hatch, and when they are fully formed and mature
enough, he releases them into the water and between 5 and 1,500 young
seahorses are born.
The Cape Vulture has unique features some
of them are, that their head and necks are nearly naked. Their eyes are
yellowish, the youngsters and the immature are generally darker and more
covered, and brown to orange eyes and red neck. The bottom of their wings can
look like they are white from far away. The bottom of the neck is bare skin and
is also the same with the white backed vulture, which sense’s the temperature
and also feel the presence of thermals. Those beautiful creatures are
unfortunately endangered now. But maybe if we know a little bit more about
them, and how we can help them grow in number
that can save them because our planet losses a little bit of its essence
with each creature that we drive to extinction without lack of knowledge and
compassion. And now let us preview some more features about the cape vultures.
The beautiful cape vulture is found in a
lot of different countries like in Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, South
Africa, and Zimbabwe, it is occasionally found in the Democratic Republic of
Congo and Zambia. It has a very unique way when laying its eggs, the Cape
Vulture usually lays its eggs on cliffs or near mountains where she can fly
long distances to search for the carcass which means (dead body of an animal)
which it is specialized in. As a scavenger, the Cape vulture feeds mainly on
carrion. When searching for food they form a foraging net across the sky,
watching each other as they search large areas to locate a suitable carcass.
The cape vulture has been decreasing in population since the 1980s, when it was
categorized as threatened. It was then upgraded to vulnerable, and in 2015 back
to endangered. It has a small population of about 4,700 pairs and 9,400
vulture is endangered to go instinct and that is because of a lot of different
problems that face it. One of the most dangers that face the cape vulture are
electrocution on power lines two thirds of young cape vultures are killed due
to electrocution on power lines, and the amount of food that is disappearing by
getting buried when they die so their food diminishes. Another problem is the
mass accidental poisonings of the rare and endangered species in Namibia, where
Cape Vultures are the most endangered of all animal species.
the Cape Vulture
• Its scientific name is Gyps
• It can eat up to 20 percent of their
own body weight in one sitting.
do not go after healthy prey, but will attack wounded and dying animals.
• The cape vulture usually mates for
One of the few animals to use tools, the cape vulture uses rocks to break open
World vultures do not have a good sense of smell they rely on their incredible eyesight to
locate food a Cape Vulture can spot a 3
foot animal carcass from 4 miles away.
How can we
First we can
stop the pollution that we do to the air, we should stop the mass poisoning
that some farmers do, because it destroys and kills a lot of innocent species,
farmers sometimes poison carcasses and leave them out to kill unwanted
predators, such as leopards and jackals, but often the poison kills large
groups of Cape Vultures and other species that also feed on the carcass. Humans
are the most lethal weapon on earth we are the ones who destroy and pollute our
› Species › Birds