Cirencester College have welcomed baby white-clawed crayfish into the animal centre for the first time.

The endangered species is native to the UK and threatened by the American signal crayfish.

Working closely with Bristol Zoo Gardens, the college has held white-clawed crayfish since 2015, as part of the captive breeding programme, run by the Bristol Zoological Society.

The babies will be housed alongside the adults in specialist accommodation at Cirencester College's new, state of the art, animal centre, due to open this September.

“I think they're very cute! I just love it at the Cirencester College. They have a wide variety of species that you can handle and work with on the course,” said student Olivia Cloke.

Olivia who is an ex-student of the College's Animal Management course, is currently studying the Animal Science Foundation Degree in partnership with the Royal Agricultural University.

Animal Management Level 2 and 3 students will be responsible for the caring for the crayfish and learning about their specialist requirements.

Those studying a foundation degree in Animal Science, or British Wildlife Conservation, will also learn about their unique husbandry and conservation needs.

The birth of the babies marks a special moment for course lecturer, Stephanie Masefield, having recently completed her Master's degree on the species.

“We're thrilled. It's very exciting and students joke that these are my grandchildren,” said Stephanie.

Once matured, the young crayfish will return to Bristol Zoo, where they will help create populations at breeding centres.

“It's nice because there’s a real purpose to breed this animal for conservation, which is great for our students,” said Stephanie.