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White-clawed crayfish (Austropotamobius pallipes)

Mohamed bin Zayed Species project number 13056879

Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation (Project No. 13056879) - White-clawed crayfish - Awarded $5,000 on November 11, 2013

The white-clawed crayfish, Austropotamobius pallipes, is designated by the IUCN as endangered throughout its range and is a keystone species of river habitats.  A. pallipes is the only endemic freshwater crayfish species within the UK and has suffered over a 70% decline through the introduction of invasive crayfish species during the 1970's for farming.  Of particular threat is the signal crayfish, Pacifastacus leniusculus, which carries crayfish plague a disease that is fatal to our native crayfish.  

The South West Crayfish Partnership (SWCP) was established in 2008; a group of key conservation organisations, who are committed to safeguarding the species from extinction long-term. The SWCP has three main strands: establishing ark sites (safe havens), where a proportion of the most threatened populations are translocated.  Captive rearing and breeding; for outreach, display and for supplementation of both wild populations and ark sites. Communication and outreach; to raise awareness of the species by targeting key groups and audiences.

This project will focus on optimising the captive breeding efficiency of a closed circuit hatchery, at Bristol Zoo Gardens through a series of experimental trials, investigating elements such as density, enclosure design, diet and water quality regimes in order to produce high numbers of healthy brood stock for both in-situ supplementation and ex-situ research. Through the use of genetics, the captive bred and reared crayfish will be assessed to ensure the health of the populations long-term both in-situ and ex-situ.


Project 13056879 location - United Kingdom, Europe