SYDNEY, Dec. 21 (Xinhua) -- Australian workers have discovered an endangered species of seahorse living in quantity in the coastal waters near Sydney Harbor, prompting marine scientists to undertake a delicate relocation effort.
Local media said on Friday that the workers were preparing to conduct repairs at tidal pools on Sydney's Northern Beaches when they made the find, observing almost 40 white's seahorses, which is one of only two endangered seahorse species in the world.
"We had no idea of their existence and then to be told we have a colony of these rare seahorses, and we're pretty excited to play a part in protecting them," Mayor Michael Reegan said.
The seahorses are in the process of being moved to the safety of nearby seagrass beds, with scientists taking particular care because many of the animals are pregnant due to the season.
"The male animal gives birth, which is unusual in the animal kingdom, but they also fall in love, the seahorses pair up for life," state fisheries senior research scientist David Harasti said.
"It's a lovely relationship they have together in the underwater world," Harasti said.
Divers said they were careful not to separate the couples, who will sometimes wrap their tails around one another so as not to drift apart.
"If we do see any that are close to each other during the relocation, we put them in a bag together," Harasti said.
The number of white's seahorses has declined dramatically over the past few years due to habitat destruction, with some areas experiencing up to a 90-percent reduction.