Hundreds of Giant Fen Raft Spiders Released in the UK - Dispatch Weekly

June 21, 2016 - Reading time: 2 minutes

Hundreds of giant Fen Raft spiders, which are the largest spiders out of all species in the UK, have been released in the UK as part of the conservation efforts to save these spiders from getting extinct in the wild.

The spiders were released by conservators and officials at the Chessington World of Adventures Resort who took it onto themselves to extend as much help as it would be possible to keep the Fen Raft spiders from vanishing from the wild. Chessington began its conservation efforts a couple of years back and have been working on the rearing and releasing of the Fen Rafts to increase their population.

According to details provided by the zoo, in just over two years, zoo keepers released as many as 400 spiderlings overall and helped prove that reintroduction of this species into new areas worked. Wild numbers almost doubled during this time and the programme was so successful that Zoo’s no longer have to rear the spiders to keep the population up.

BIAZA, the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums, recently recognised Chessington’s successful work on the Fen Rafts at their Annual Awards, and awarded Chessington with the Gold Award for this work.

Keith Russell, a Supervisor within the Zoo team at Chessington, was instrumental in leading this important work. He accepted the award on behalf of the Zoo and said that their work is a good example of how zoos can help conserve endangered species in the wild.

“Here at Chessington we are very pleased to have received such high praise and recognition from BIAZA for the part we played in this project”, Russell said.

DW Staff

David Lintott is the Editor-in-Chief, leading our team of talented freelance journalists. He specializes in covering culture, sport, and society. Originally from the decaying seaside town of Eastbourne, he attributes his insightful world-weariness to his roots in this unique setting.