Marwell Wildlife needs to raise £20,000 to help save endangered native species

European freshwater crayfish

Marwell Wildlife has today launched an appeal to raise £20,000 to help save one of the UK’s most endangered native species, the white-clawed crayfish by opening a breeding centre..

The conservation charity is taking part in the Big Give’s Green Match Fund and for one week only all donations will be doubled. From midday today until midday next Thursday every donation made will be matched by Big Give Champion Funder – The Postcode Green Trust.

So anyone who donates this week will see their donation have double the impact. Donations must be made via The Big Give’s website here: https://donate.biggive.org/campaign/a056900002SEUhUAAX

White-clawed crayfish are incredibly important to chalk streams, like the three right on Marwell’s doorstep in Hampshire – the River Meon, River Itchen and River Test. Sadly their population has drastically declined since the 1970s as a result of habitat loss, pollution, disease and invasive species.

In the wild, the species acts as an important “clean-up crew” and food source for animals, including swans and otters who build their homes on these important waterways. Without them, the delicate natural balance could be under threat.  

With money raised, Marwell will open a brand-new breeding centre at the zoo. Using the organisation’s expertise in animal welfare, husbandry, and conservation science, the teams will rear and care for the species prior to their release in Hampshire.

Guests at the zoo will be able to visit the centre and see first-hand the exciting project that they funded come to life. Inside the centre, there will be opportunities to see the crayfish up close, observe the team’s work, and learn all about this small but mighty species.

Dr Will Justice, Director of Animal Care at Marwell Zoo, said: “Marwell is probably best known for its more exotic animals and for our conservation work with big cats, Grevy’s zebra and Scimitar-horned oryx, but we’ve been working for over 30 years to support the recovery of nature and wildlife here in Hampshire and across the south coast too.

“White-clawed crayfish are a really important UK species. Our project is an opportunity for us to utilise the expertise and skills we have here at Marwell both in terms of animal management, welfare and husbandry but also in conservation science, education and impact. 

“Together with our supporters and through the Green Match Fund, we can help to protect and save part of our own natural heritage. Making a difference to wildlife on our own doorstep.”

“It’s a tight window and a large sum of money but let’s give this vital species a home at Marwell Zoo and ensure their survival for generations to come.

Marwell Wildlife is a conservation and education charity (Registered Charity No. 275433) based in Hampshire. Founded in 1972, Marwell is dedicated to protecting and restoring nature, supporting sustainable living, and forging stronger connections between nature and people.

Big Give is a registered charity (1136547) that runs match funded campaigns for charities and special causes at key moments across the year. By connecting charities to match funders (like philanthropists, foundations or companies) and the public, Big Give helps them double their donations.

In doing so, makes an extraordinary difference to the world’s biggest challenges. It has raised more than £280m for charities to date. Big Give campaigns have been promoted by celebrities including Leonardo DiCaprio, Emilia Fox, Dame Judi Dench and Stephen Fry, among others.

Photo: Marwell Wildlife