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Crayfish project

By West Briton  |  Posted: January 02, 2014

A white-clawed crayfish.    : Kate O'Neil, Buglife

A white-clawed crayfish. : Kate O'Neil, Buglife

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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 involves Avon Wildlife Trust, Bristol Zoo Gardens and the Environment Agency.

The project has also:

● Surveyed our remaining wild crayfish populations and assessed the threats to them;

● Bred more than 1,300 white-clawed crayfish at Bristol Zoo;

● Taught more than 1,600 schoolchildren about the white-clawed crayfish and the wildlife in their local rivers;

● Monitored the spread of North American signal crayfish on many of our rivers.

However, the crayfish continues to be under threat and a new five-year strategy has been drawn up so the work can continue.

Andrew Whitehouse, regional manager for Buglife, said: "The South West Crayfish Project has ensured that the region's white-clawed crayfish have a brighter future, and is a great example of how a large number of organisations can work together."

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