Project summary


The white-clawed crayfish is one of the UK’s largest freshwater invertebrates and an important part of our water ecosystem. Yet, this often invisible and largely defenceless species is globally endangered due to non-native competitors and widespread habitat loss.

In the South West Peak, before the project, crayfish had started to isolate themselves in small headwaters and in still ponds which offered some protection from the North American Signal crayfish and their diseases. But these small, endangered creatures needed help and the South West Peak Landscape Partnership and the Staffordshire Wildlife Trust had a plan.

The South West Peak is an ideal location for the crayfish to recover their numbers. The area has numerous isolated streams and ponds dotting the landscape where crayfish can take refuge and ensure their survival long into the future.

With the leadership of the Staffordshire Wildlife Trust, our project surveyed and monitored crayfish populations and identified the best sites for white-clawed crayfish to live. These protected and isolated locations were then populated with crayfish from donor populations so that these endangered, native invertebrates could recover their numbers naturally in a location free from invasive crayfish and the diseases that they spread.

To learn more about how this project helped white-clawed crayfish, watch this video.

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What we did

  • Surveyed the populations of the endangered White-Clawed Crayfish
  • Identified 7 ideal locations for new crayfish homes or 'ark sites'
  • Interpreted the challenges faced by these small creatures to visitors and river users
  • Coordinated assisted migrations of over 5000 crayfish into suitable areas
  • Trained local volunteers to monitor and help crayfish survive long into the future
crayfish in crisis

How to help white-clawed crayfish

Volunteer

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Learn more about the white-clawed crayfish and how you can help save their home!

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The underside of the claws of a white-clawed crayfish are actually off-white to buff coloured.

Visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=36au1KKGhYE

Crayfish in Crisis Video

Watch our Glorious Grasslands video on YouTube

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White-clawed crayfish are classed on the IUCN Red List as endangered, that’s the same conservation status as blue whales and tigers!

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Who's working on this project?


Andrew Farmer

Andrew Farmer

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Karen Shelley-Jones

Karen Shelley-Jones

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Our partners


  • Environment Agency
  • Peak District National Park Authority
  • Staffordshire Wildlife Trusts