Mysterious Eel

Helping the marvellous, mysterious eel.

Helping the Eel cross the bridge
 |  Katie Hogg  |  Wildlife

Helping the marvellous, mysterious eel.

The connection between our local rivers and the wide expanses of ocean that cover two thirds of the surface of our precious planet was underlined a few years ago when a specially designed eel pass was installed between the River idle and Belmoor Lake – the water body immediately adjacent to the visitor facilities - at our Idle Valley Nature Reserve.

 Considered one of our most endangered species, the magnificent yet ultimately mysterious eel (Anguilla
Anguilla
), which can live as long as 100 years, has long suffered through over fishing, persecution and loss of habitat. 

Whilst there are still fundamental gaps in our knowledge of their lifecycle it is widely accepted that they are born in the Sargasso Sea and those that reach the UK will have endured a three-year journey. After reaching the UK as transparent elvers, known as glass eels, they inhabit a range of water bodies where they gradually mature, taking on a darker green-brown colour with a distinctive silver underside. 

Given their critically endangered status we decided to give them a helping hand at the Idle Valley Nature Reserve and whilst they are known to leave the water and cross land between water bodies we decided to create a special eel pass to make it easier to access the lake. Hopefully eels will mature there for up to 18 years before making the miraculous journey back to the Sargasso Sea, in the Atlantic Ocean, to spawn and start the cycle all over again. 

Helping the marvellous, mysterious eel.

The connection between our local rivers and the wide expanses of ocean that cover two thirds of the surface of our precious planet was underlined a few years ago when a specially designed eel pass was installed between the River idle and Belmoor Lake – the water body immediately adjacent to the visitor facilities - at our Idle Valley Nature Reserve.

Considered one of our most endangered species, the magnificent yet ultimately mysterious eel (Anguilla
Anguilla
), which can live as long as 100 years, has long suffered through over fishing, persecution and loss of habitat. 

Whilst there are still fundamental gaps in our knowledge of their lifecycle it is widely accepted that they are born in the Sargasso Sea and those that reach the UK will have endured a three-year journey. After reaching the UK as transparent elvers, known as glass eels, they inhabit a range of water bodies where they gradually mature, taking on a darker green-brown colour with a distinctive silver underside. 

Given their critically endangered status we decided to give them a helping hand at the Idle Valley Nature Reserve and whilst they are known to leave the water and cross land between water bodies we decided to create a special eel pass to make it easier to access the lake. Hopefully eels will mature there for up to 18 years before making the miraculous journey back to the Sargasso Sea, in the Atlantic Ocean, to spawn and start the cycle all over again. 

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