Bristol Zoo Gardens

Hands on conservation in bid to save the threatened White-clawed Crayfish

A project between Bristol Zoo Gadrens, Avon Wildlife Trust and the Environment Agency, heralds the start of a concerted effort in the next few years to curb the dramatic decline of native crayfish across the South-West, by translocating them from threatened areas to specially selected refuge streams.

history Campaign has now closed

It ran from 7:00 PM, 11 February 2009 to 3:00 PM, 25 August 2009

Registered Charity in England and Wales (1104986)

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Bristol Zoo-run conservation project to protect the white-clawed crayfish has won funding from Natural England. The Zoo’s project to save the species from extinction in the South West has been awarded £105 ,000 matched funding from Natural England. This will help fund the monitoring of remaining crayfish numbers, then move of some of the most threatened individuals to safer areas within the region. In addition, a ‘safety net’ will be produced by establishing a captive breeding population at Bristol Zoo Gardens, for use in any future reintroduction programme. The white-clawed crayfish is the UK’s only native crayfish species and has suffered extensive decline throughout its European range, including in Britain. Threats include changes to habitat and water quality, pollution and most devastatingly at present, the introduction of non-indigenous crayfish species (NICS). The latter has had a severe effect on native populations particularly by introducing a fungal disease named 'crayfish plague'. Outbreaks have caused mass mortalities and this plague can be spread between watercourses by anglers, walkers and even other animals. We have been working on this project with our partners, the Environment Agency South West and the Avon Wildlife Trust, and this funding will give a substantial boost our efforts to save this species – which is probably one of the UK’s most important species from a global perspective. In the last decade many of the most important native crayfish populations in the South West have been lost including three of the four most abundant in the Bristol Avon catchment alone. Our aim to is save the species from extinction, and this support will go a long way towards achieving it