A conservation project aimed at protecting endangered white-clawed crayfish has been celebrating success after moving 4,000 of the creatures to safe havens.
The South West Crayfish Project was launched in 2008 and aims to protect the UK’s only native crayfish which was under threat of extinction in the south west due to the spread of the non-native American signal crayfish.
Under the project the creatures have been moved to safe haven Ark sites – including one in Cornwall.
The project is led by charity Buglife and also involves Avon Wildlife Trust, Bristol Zoo Gardens and the Environment Agency.
Despite the success of the project the crayfish continues to be under threat and, as a result, a new five-year strategy has been drawn up so that the work can continue.
Mary-Rose Lane, biodiversity specialist for the Environment Agency, said: “What we have achieved is a great start, and we now need to continue working together to protect our native crayfish populations, and understand and tackle the damage Signal crayfish can cause the native wildlife of our rivers and streams.”
The South West Crayfish Project has been supported by funding from BBC Wildlife Fund, Biffa Award, Bristol Water, Defra’s Aggregates Levy Sustainability Fund, Environment Agency, Heritage Lottery Fund, Natural England, and the Pennon Environmental Trust.