In a major conservation effort, over a thousand invasive crayfish, primarily Louisiana crayfish, were recently captured and removed from the ecological area of Dębina II in Poznań, Poland. This initiative, led by the University of Life Sciences in Poznań (UPP), marks the largest campaign aimed at eliminating this invasive species from the Polish environment.
The Louisiana crayfish, native to North America and highly sought after in the global aquarium trade, poses a significant threat to native fauna and ecosystem functionality. These invasive crayfish often result from abandonment by aquarium owners, overpopulation, or boredom.
The Extent of the Issue:
According to Dr. Mikołaj Kaczmarski of the UPP’s Department of Zoology, the Dębina II area is home to the largest known population of invasive crayfish in the country. In addition to the Louisiana crayfish, the area also saw the establishment of signal crayfish, although the Louisiana crayfish clearly dominated the population.
Protecting a Valuable Habitat:
The Dębina II area, a part of the larger Dębina forest, is a precious natural habitat with remnants of ancient floodplain forests along the Warta River, supporting various protected species, including a significant amphibian population.
Scientists from UPP stressed the need for continued removal efforts in the coming years. Additionally, they will assess the impact of crayfish presence on native protected species.