Appeal for sightings of White-clawed crayfish on Exmoor

Friday 12th July 2013

Buglife and Exmoor National Park Authority are appealing for sightings of White-clawed crayfish on Exmoor

The two organisations are working together on a new project to map the species on Exmoor. This work is part of the South West Crayfish Project – a regional partnership between Buglife, Avon Wildlife Trust, the Environment Agency and Bristol Zoo which aims to halt the decline in our native White-clawed crayfish in the South West.

White-clawed crayfish are a critically endangered species in the UK. Since the 1970s, they have declined by up to 50% due to loss or damage to their habitat and as a result of the introduction of invasive crayfish species such as the North American Signal crayfish.

Chris Ayre, Buglife Assistant Project Officer, said: “This summer we will be focussing our surveying in and around Monksilver, where White-clawed crayfish have been found in recent years – this is thought to be the last remaining population in the National Park.

“However, it is possible that the crayfish are still present in rivers and streams elsewhere. From previous experience we know that by speaking to local people, we can unearth a wealth of information on where crayfish are or where they have been found in the past. There’s no knowledge quite like local knowledge.”

The survey work is hoped to establish the health and distribution of the White-clawed crayfish on Exmoor.

Chris added: “The results of the survey will help us understand how the White-clawed crayfish are faring on Exmoor. It will also provide a clear picture on any potential risks to the crayfish and how we can ensure there continued survival. If we can tap into local knowledge we can safeguard this rare and charismatic species for the future.”

Buglife would particularly like to hear from you if you live within the parishes of Monksilver, Nettlecombe, Stogumber or Elworthy and you have seen a crayfish.

You can send your sightings to [email protected]. Alternatively you can call Buglife on 01752 253087.