Latest News | 18 October 2022

Trust moves endangered crayfish to new ‘Ark’ site

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Derbyshire Wildlife Trust has completed the first major translocation of white-clawed crayfish as part of a project to protect the rare and endangered species.

Working with partners including The National Trust, the trust led the project to relocate the native, white-clawed crayfish in lakes at Kedleston Hall, which are under threat from the non-native signal crayfish present downstream at Markeaton Park.

The species have been collected and relocated to a secret ‘Ark’ site in Derbyshire, where it is hoped they will thrive.

White-clawed crayfish have been in decline ever since the non-native American signal crayfish escaped into UK waters in the 1970s.

Signal crayfish are bigger and stronger than the white-clawed, can feed on them, out-compete them for homes and food, and carry a disease fatal to the UK species.

Kath Stapley, project lead and living rivers officer at Derbyshire Wildlife Trust, said: “Despite ongoing conservation efforts, sadly it is only matter of time before the signal crayfish downstream make their way into the lake systems at Kedleston and eventually wipe out this protected species in these lakes.

“The signal crayfish also threatens other species and will significantly reduce the biodiversity here.

“We therefore want to remove as many of the white-clawed crayfish as possible and take them to sites where this threat is much lower.

“This is the first translocation we have undertaken here, but we hope to translocate more white-clawed crayfish from Kedleston each year, as long as it is safe to do so.

“This project has been a huge team effort and we are delighted to be working with our partners to protect white-clawed crayfish as part of our mission for nature’s recovery.”

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