Wriggly visitors on show at Attingham Park

Visitors to Attingham Park, Shrewsbury, will be able to spot an unusual sight this week – a tank full of wriggling eels in the visitor centre.

The eels will be on show in their tank for a couple of weeks, and visitors will be able to see them close up and learn about their journey upstream from the Sargasso Seas to Shropshire. Hundreds of eels were recently introduced to the River Tern at Attingham to try and increase the local population, and this display will offer visitors another chance to take a look at some of the wildlife normally hidden underwater.

Eels are one of the Severn’s most iconic species, and this display is part of a project which has seen thousands of juvenile eels delivered to different sites in the region to give people the chance to get up closer to them. The Severn Rivers Trust is supporting this “eel in the classroom” project with support from UK Glass Eels Ltd and the elvermen of Gloucestershire, and once visitors have had a few weeks to admire them, the eels will be released into a number of tributaries of the River Severn to help their survival.

Eel numbers have declined across Europe over the last 20 years, but populations of young eels arriving from the Sargasso Sea have started to increase, with many reporting that this year’s “elver run” is the best in 30 years.

Bob Thurston, Countryside Parks and Gardens Manager at Attingham Park, is thrilled to be able to be a part of this project. “We’re delighted to be part of this project with the Severn River Trust and hope that by hosting some eels, we can raise awareness about these fascinating creatures. Our wriggly new friends are all settled in and will be on show for the next couple of weeks before we release them into our river.”

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Pete White Pete White

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