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Wildheart Animal Sanctuary’s Helping To Save Endangered Crayfish Species

Sandown's Wildheart Animal Sanctuary has unveiled its new Crayfish Conservation Centre, which will house the first ex-situ population of native, White-clawed Crayfish on the Isle of Wight.

The Sanctuary has been working closely with Bristol Zoological Society and Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust to preserve this endangered species.

Their new Conservation Centre is the product of years of research and collaboration and would not have been possible without support from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and the Watercress & Winterbournes project, as well as many other partners and sponsors.

To celebrate the completion of the Crayfish Conservation Centre, an official opening event took place last Friday (January 26) with Sandown Mayor Alex Lightfoot.

The new centre's Acting Conservation Research Officer, Lily Gray, told Isle of Wight Radio:

"The centre came about after discussions with the Wildlife Trust about how we could help them.

"They were keen to have a crayfish centre where visitors could come and look at them, with awareness being raised.

"This is my first proper conservation project and it's very exciting to be involved."

Wildheart Animal Sanctuary Chief Operating Officer, Lawrence Bates, added

"The seed of the idea came around two years ago, with the actual build starting 18 months ago.

"Crayfish are such a critical part of the eco-system, they are little heroes of the natural world - if their numbers continue to drop then it will affect the entire food chain, while they're also such a good indicator of river health.

"This is one of the only places in the UK where you can see crayfish in tanks."

The Conservation Centre officially opened to the public on Saturday (January 27).

You can learn more about the Sanctuary's Crayfish Project on the their website.

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