Zoo Watch: Breeding boost for endangered spider species at Whipsnade Zoo

Endangered spiders hatch at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo. Picture: ZSL

Endangered spiders hatch at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo. Picture: ZSL - Credit: Archant

Conservationists at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo are celebrating after one of the world’s most endangered spider species had a boost in numbers.

Endangered spiders hatch at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo. Picture: ZSL

Endangered spiders hatch at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo. Picture: ZSL - Credit: Archant

Approximately 100 endangered Desertas wolf spiderlings hatched on 21 May.

The success follows two years of careful planning, in which conservationists found a dark cellar at the zoo to be the ideal environment for the species to breed. It is only the second time the species has been bred in captivity anywhere in the world.

Endangered spiders hatch at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo. Picture: ZSL

Endangered spiders hatch at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo. Picture: ZSL - Credit: Archant

The large, grey spiders, native to Desertas Grande Island in Madeira, only breed once or twice in their lifetimes.

Zookeeper Tyrone Capel said: "It has been fantastic to see these spiderlings hatch, and after two weeks clinging onto their mother's back, climb off her to go their own way.

Endangered spiders hatch at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo. Picture: ZSL

Endangered spiders hatch at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo. Picture: ZSL - Credit: Archant


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"With a healthy population here at ZSL, we can continue to contribute to vital conservation research into one of the world's most endangered arachnids."

Endangered spiders hatch at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo. Picture: ZSL

Endangered spiders hatch at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo. Picture: ZSL - Credit: Archant

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