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Bid to preserve native crayfish

PUBLISHED: 15:30 26 August 2009 | UPDATED: 11:41 06 July 2010

A RESCUE mission is underway to prevent an endangered species disappearing from the Suffolk coast.

The native white-clawed crayfish used to be a common sight in Britain's rivers but have been losing out in the last few decades to more aggressive invasive species such as signal crayfish from America.

A RESCUE mission is underway to prevent an endangered species disappearing from the Suffolk coast.

The native white-clawed crayfish used to be a common sight in Britain's rivers but have been losing out in the last few decades to more aggressive invasive species such as signal crayfish from America.

But a new project is aiming to prevent the crustaceans from being wiped out by developing an innovative crayfish 'ark'.

A watery haven has already been chosen for the crayfish - 50 of which were rescued from a threatened population and taken there this week.

In time, it is hoped that the transferred animals will breed and grow in number.

Monitoring will be carried out every year for the next three years to see how they are doing and a hunt has already started for another refuge site.

Will Akast, from the Environment Agency, said: “It feels really good to be doing something positive for native crayfish.

“Sitting back and watching them gradually disappear is so depressing.

“Maybe in time a way will be found, such as biological control, to eradicate the invaders and then white-claws may again take their place in our rivers.”

If anyone has a large pond, lake or gravel pit and would like it to be considered as an ark site, contact the Environment Agency on 08708 506 506.

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