"The male seahorse's brood pouch bulges like a balloon. It puffs in and out, in and out, like the cheeks of a trumpet player. The seahorse pumps with his tail, bending and folding like a jackknife, working hard to give birth. A squirt, a gush - two babies pop out. Each is a tiny, perfect copy of its father."
"Amanda still remembers a pair of White's seahorses she studies in Australia. The pregnant male was attacked during the night by another animal that bit a hole in his pouch and sucked out his babies. Amanda didn't expect the male to survive his terrible injury. Though nearby males tried to lure the female seahorse away, she refused to abandon her wounded mate. Every morning the female greeted her partner with the courtship dance that seahorse couples use to keep their reproductive cycles in harmony. After a few months, the male's pouch healed and he fathered another brood. "For any animal, that level of devotion is extraordinary," says Amanda."
Now, there's a story to share! Amanda's interest in the biology of the seahorse and, in part, this story led to her lifelong commitment to activism in assuring the conservation of these intriguing creatures of the sea. Thus, Project Seahorse was born. It has been up and running since 1998. Pamela Turner has done an exceptional job of telling the story of the Philippine community, its dependence on the reefs and its willingness to help protect them. It is, at times, a tricky balancing act. But, it is worth the hard work that is being done, and she gives us up-to-date findings on the impact the project has had in stemming the loss of this amazing creature and the other sea life that shares the habitat.
You will wonder at the remarkable shots of the ocean world that Scott Tuason has captured! I cannot imagine the patience, the stillness that must be achieved and the delicate maneuvering it takes to get such clear and detailed photographs. He makes the reef come alive for those of us who live beyond it!
As with other honored nonfiction, Pamela Turner's narrative acumen lets us read this as story...a powerful telling that captures our interest, our empathy and hopefully, our need to help in any way that we can to conserve the wide expanse of ocean that lies mostly unprotected. We can make a difference when we care!