Buglife are working with the Environment Agency, Avon Wildlife Trust, Bristol Science and Conservation Foundation, Devon Wildlife Trust, Dorset Wildlife Trust and Paignton Zoo Environmental Park in the South West Crayfish Partnership.
The South West Crayfish Partnership was established in response to the severe decline of native White-clawed crayfish (Austropotamobius pallipes) in South West England.
The project involves re-homing at-risk populations of White-clawed crayfish to new safe havens known as Ark sites, monitoring existing populations and captive breeding populations at Bristol Zoological Gardens.
To date over 4,000 crayfish have been translocated to 14 new safe Ark sites in the South West. The partnership is also monitoring wild populations in the region, assessing their health and stability.
This work is also in tandem with recording non-native crayfish populations and maintaining a watching brief on any potential threats to ark sites and wild populations.
The partnership has also:
- implemented a survey and monitoring programme of wild crayfish populations
- engaged landowners and managers through surveys and monitoring work
- established a captive breeding population (breeding over 1300 crayfish) and public exhibit of White-clawed crayfish at Bristol Zoological Gardens, and a second in planning at Paignton Zoo
- run an education programme highlighting the threats to White-clawed crayfish and promoting measures for their conservation amongst the public, landowners and key stakeholder groups such as anglers. The outreach programme has reached over 1600 school children and over 2 million other members of the public
- hosted a national crayfish conservation conference in 2010.
Here you can find further information on the South West Crayfish Partnerships projects to date and the South West Crayfish Partnership’s strategic aims for the future of White-clawed crayfish conservation.