A photographer has shared shocking images of thousands of dead seahorses set to be sold for use as medicines and aphrodisiacs.
Kevin Laurie, 66, a retired police officer from Hong Kong, visited the Qing Ping Wholesale Medicine Market in Guangzhou, China last month and claims he witnessed thousands of rare animals being offered for sale.
Seahorses are used in Traditional Chinese Medicine with proponents believing they can be used to cure asthma, throat infections, insomnia and abdominal pain as well as increasing sexual potency.
“The main focus of sales is herbal medicine to supply the Traditional Chinese Medicine market,” Mr Laurie said.
“Seahorses are one component of the market.
“While most of the wildlife crime focus is on the high profile species, these poor little critters are slipping quietly under the radar.”
Mr Laurie, who was born in the UK, joined the police force in Hong Kong in 1977 and fell in love and now currently does conservation work on a voluntary basis.
“Years ago, the market was alive with live animals of all sorts, but the Chinese Government has taken great strides to protect endangered species in the market.
“But one of my passions is protecting the unprotected.
“Seahorses don’t have much of a voice in the conservation world, so my aim in taking the photos was to highlight their plight.”