Dudley Zoo Helps Save UK's Biggest Spider

Dudley Zoo has been recognised for its conservation work in saving the UKs rarest and biggest spider.

Dudley Zoo was awarded gold in the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA) 50th Anniversary awards, for their project with the Fen Raft spider, which began in 2011.

Working with nine other zoos around the UK, bosses co-ordinated the national programme which involved zoo keepers acting as foster parents to 2450 fen raft spiderlings for two months, feeding and caring for them until they were strong enough to be released into their natural habitat.

There are only three known populations in Norfolk, East Sussex and South Wales due to major losses to their wetland habitats. They’re listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN’s Red List and is one of only two spider species fully protected by UK law. Dudley Zoo's Conservation Officer, Chris Leeson, said:

“We’re thrilled to be recognised by BIAZA for our work with fen rafts.

“Rearing them in captivity increases their slim survival chances in the wild to over 90 per cent, so without projects like this one, where we’ve been able to give the species a helping hand to repopulate and hopefully help secure its future, it would’ve been difficult for the arachnid to recover on its own.”


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