Partners and Donors
Thesen Islands Homeowners’ Association
An exciting new seahorse research project was officially launched on Thesen Islands Marina in early February 2014. It is led by Knysna Basin Project (KBP), a non-profit organisation that for nearly 20 years has been actively involved in monitoring the health of the Knysna Estuary and the impact of development on the estuary waters. The seahorse project got off the ground with the support of the Thesen Islands Homeowners’ Association, with agreement to contribute R50 000 each in 2013/4 and 2014/5 financial years.
Individual Thesen Islands residents responded to the original appeal for donations towards the project and many others have come on board with monthly voluntary contributions from August 2014. This should ensure the necessary funding through to completion of the project in the Thesen Islands waterways. A big thank you to those who have contributed so generously.
A joint committee between TIHOA and KBP monitors the KySS Knysna Seahorse Project and this comprises Richard Wilkinson (Chairman), Konrad Taeuber, Patrick Wilson of TIHOA and Prof Brian Allanson, Ian Corbett, Mike Davies of KBP and Louw Claassens the fulltime biologist.
The historic Crofters Hut behind the Clubhouse on Thesen Islands was converted into a well-equipped research laboratory. It is used as the base for the Knysna Seahorse Status Project (KySS). Professor Brian Allanson, director of the Knysna Basin Project, is leading the research, aided by full-time biologist Louw Claassens who is working out of the satellite laboratory. Louw has an MSc in Zoology from Johannesburg University and is working towards her doctorate as part of the project.
The Knysna seahorse is unique in that it is the only estuarine seahorse species in the world. The Knysna seahorse was included on the IUCN Red Data List of 2000 – making it the first and only seahorse species to be classified as Endangered. The seahorse is also protected under the National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act of 2004 making the removal or any disturbance of the species illegal.
The Project has the following objectives:
To describe the natural history of the Knysna seahorse (Hippocampus capensis) within a tidal marina in the Knysna estuary by:
• Establishing the distribution and abundance (viability) of H. capensis within the canals of Thesen Islands Marina
• Exploring the biology and habitat requirements of H. capensis.
• Evaluating the role of marinas as a possible refuge for H. capensis and associated fauna
Can marinas function as a refuge for estuarine fauna - in particular the Knysna seahorse?
Barloworld and Rhodes University
In 2007, the major corporate ‘Barloworld’ made a substantial grant for the refurbishing of the Field laboratory which brought up-to-date its equipment. This together with the publication history of the laboratory allowed it to become a constituent part of the Department of Zoology and Entomology of Rhodes University and to secure financial support from the University.