bahamas national park seahorse under the water
A lined seahorse (Hippocampus erectus), female, clining to algae in an alkaline pond in The Bahamas. Photo courtesy of Bahamas National Trust.
News

The Bahamas’ Newest National Park Is the Seahorse Capital of the World 

By: Alexander Britell - January 29, 2024

It’s a mile-long pond in Hatchet Bay on the island of Eleuthera in The Bahamas. But this body of water is filled with wonders. 

Sweetings Pond, a land-locked saltwater pond, is home to what is said to be the densest population of seahorses anywhere in the world. 

The unique population has helped earn this global seahorse capital a new title: the newest national park in The Bahamas, called, fittingly, Seahorse National Park. 

It’s called Seahorse National Park, and the park encompasses 548 acres — protecting both the pond itself and the area beyond — including the Hatchet Bay Caves system, what The Bahamas National Trust calls “one of the longest dry cave systems in The Bahamas.”

It’s part of a nearly decade-long effort by the Trust to have Sweetings Pond declared a national park. 

The park designation “has been a long time coming,” said Bahamas Minister of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Family Island Affairs Clay Sweeting. “. It represents a milestone in our journey towards sustainable development. It symbolises our collective responsibility to safeguard our natural heritage and create a harmonious relationship between economic progress and environmental preservation.”

The idea is to “transform Sweetings Pond into a world-class national park,” said Lakeshia Anderson-Rolle, executive director of The Bahamas National Trust

Seahorse National Park is now the 33rd national park in The Bahamas, though just the second one in Eleuthera (along with the Leon Levy Native Plant Preserve in Governor’s Harbour). 

“The declaration of Seahorse National Park is more than just a designation; it is our shared promise to our community, to future generations, and to the world that we are committed to conserving our unique and diverse ecosystems for the benefit of all Bahamians,” she said. 

The park is yet another reminder of Eleuthera’s vast, pristine natural environment, from pink-sand beaches to imposing cliffs to the world-famous Ocean Hole in Rock Sound

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