Endangered crayfish moved to 'safe' pools in Derbyshire

The crayfish were moved to ponds in a disused quarry
Image caption The crayfish were moved to ponds in a disused quarry

A rare species of crayfish is being protected in a £20,000 project in the Peak District in Derbyshire.

More than 100 white-clawed crayfish have been moved to pools in a disused quarry where they cannot be infected by non-native species.

UK crayfish have been devastated in recent years by signal crayfish which spread a disease to them.

It is hoped the crayfish in two ponds on land owned by the National Trust will flourish in the new environment.

Aggressive foreigner

Project workers and volunteers moved the crustaceans to the site from the National Trust's nearby Calke Estate.

Other sites in the Peak District may be used as safe havens for the crayfish in the future, Peak District Biodiversity Action Plan co-ordinator Karen Shelley-Jones said.

"Our white-clawed crayfish are being severely depleted by the non-native signal species, which is bigger, more aggressive and largely unharmed by the plague which it carries.

"In recent years crayfish plague has wiped out Peak District populations in the Manifold and Dove, but we used healthy donor sites in wetlands on the Calke estate and now the crayfish can breed safely away from potentially risky river habitats."

The white crayfish is listed as "endangered" on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.

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