Birch Aquarium has successfully raised thousands of seahorses since 1994.
Birch Aquarium at Scripps
Seahorse Propagation Program
In February 2009, Birch Aquarium at Scripps celebrated the 15th anniversary of its Seahorse Propagation Program. This award-winning effort by our aquarists reduces the pressure to collect seahorses from the wild.
Generations of seahorse babies have grown up at Birch Aquarium. They are showcased onsite and also shared with aquariums and zoos all over the world.
Over the years, our aquarists have successfully raised 12 species of seahorses and shipped more than 3,000 specimens to 65 aquariums and zoos.
Recognizing the need for future generations of seahorses, our aquarists launched an effort in 1994 to breed Pacific seahorses collected from San Diego Bay.
Our first batch of babies was born on Thanksgiving of that year. With financial support from avid seahorse lover Dorothy Munro, a specialized seahorse nursery was established behind the scenes where the babies could be cared for and raised.
Birch Aquarium at Scripps was the first institution in the United States to initiate a successful long-term Pacific seahorse-breeding program. In 1999, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) recognized the breeding effort with the Edward H. Bean Award.
The Seahorse Propagation Program continues to expand. Each year, our aquarists learn more about the unique husbandry requirements that keep the breeding program thriving, and share that information with aquarists throughout the world.