There is however 1 big job left!
Temperature is a really important factor for these crayfish, especially when it comes to breeding them and rearing the young. We have a lovely water chiller unit which was kindly donated to us and this takes care of all of the finessing work when it comes to water temperature, to ensure that it is perfect and absolutely constant. However to make the system run more efficiently, economical in the long run, and to its absolute best ability. A lot of equipment is going to be working together to have this system provide the crayfish with the absolute perfect environment so that we can help to strengthen the Kentish population of this under-appreciated diamond in our waterways!
The room chiller is however the biggest piece of the puzzle whilst also potentially being the key to breeding them indoors. By a big piece of the puzzle, I mean £4,500 worth of puzzle piece.
We have recently had to make the difficult decision to close Sandwich Wildlife Park to ensure that at Wingham Wildlife Park we can continue to push the boundaries of animal husbandry further outwards and give everyone the best home they possibly can have. It is even allowing us to once again look at refurbishing that reptile house!
But conservation is an equally important part of what we do, and these crayfish are going to be our flagship native species so it's so important for us and myself personally to ensure that we can keep this project on track rather than falling at the last hurdle.
So I'm doing my own fundraising drive!
I don't expect to raise the full £4,500, however what an incredible goal to reach if we do manage that! And if anything else is raised on top of that it certainly won't go to waste as we are also looking this year to support important surveying work in Kent. There is no point breeding them, without safe homes for them to go to!
So what am I going to do?
The main fundraising drive will be the culmination of what I'm doing - but please do leave me messages and comments if you want to see me add any other activities at certain milestones and I'll see what I can do - will be a bike ride along the full length of the Stour Valley Walk (although some sections may need to be walked with the bike in tow) which starts in Lenham near Maidstone and finishes in Pegwell Bay. This is around 58 miles depending on which site you look at, and I will then finish it off by turning around at the edge of the Pegwell Bay nature reserve at Sandwich Bay and coming back to Wingham Wildlife Park, which will bring the total distance up to potentially just shy of 70 miles.
For someone who hasn't ridden a bike in about 10 years this is a daunting task and I am going to give myself a little training time with a date to be set for the actual ride once the weather gets a little more predictable and dry as large areas of the path across fields.
First challenge for me is getting myself a bike again!
And remember, I'm not expecting to raise the full £4,500 - we've had so much support already and I'm fully aware that helping to breed and release crayfish here in Kent isn't quite as glamorous as helping tigers in Sumatra or giant pandas in China... But this is pretty special to me personally and every penny I can get closer to having one of the most advanced crayfish hatcheries in the country is one more big smile on my face!
Thank you for just sticking with it and reading all the way to the end!
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