Home at last: how we're helping eels make it back to our lakes
Imagine swimming 3000 miles from Bermuda to the UK, now imagine you are only 3cm long.
Baby eels (Elvers) instinctively travel from their birthplace in the Sargasso Sea, across the Atlantic and up the English Channel to return to their parent's home. There they travel along the River Ouse, into a small tributary on our parkland and up towards our lakes. Many eels manage this last leg of their journey with few problems; however, we want to help even more of them make it to their destination.
With the help of the Environment Agency and your support, we have been able to install an eel pass to help these tiny creatures on the final leg of their epic migration. Made up of a metal tray of up-ended bristles with a solar powered water pump aiding their passage, the Elvers can make their way effortlessly up the eel pass back into our lakes to continue their lifecycle.
Centuries ago it is understood that eels were used as a form of currency at Sheffield Park. Tenants on the estate would pay their rent with this unusual form of tender, which would have been in plentiful supply at the time.
The European eel is on the critically endangered list, and with such an important role in our history, it's important that we play our part in boosting their numbers. If you're lucky on your next visit you might just spot an Elver making its way up the pass, or even a fully grown adult writhing around in one of the lakes.