Friday, 27 November 2009

Great crested newts, licensing and mitigation...

Amphibian and Reptile Conservation is providing a valuable training opportunity for wildlife consultants, planners and local authority ecologists working with great crested newts on development projects.

The course, entitled Great crested newts, licensing and mitigation, will cover licence applications, the planning and coordination of mitigation projects and it will include a workshop based on a local case-study.

It will take place on January 19th – 21st 2010, at Preston Montford Studies Centre near Shrewsbury. The course will be run in partnership with Golder Associates and the Field Studies Council.

Only 20 places are available - to avoid disappointment please contact the Field Studies Council directly on 0845 3307378.

If you have any queries about the course please contact David Orchard at, 01204 529312; 07817 373853.

For more information: click here to download a flyer

Thursday, 19 November 2009

“Lizards 1 - People 1” argues ARC in response to roadworks debacle

Amphibian and Reptile Conservation is calling for a more measured response from Bournemouth commuters to road verge works being undertaken while slow-worms and sand lizards are hibernating.

The story has received a great deal of coverage in past days. Papers, including The Daily Mail and The Sun, report that local businesses are upset over the roadworks, fearing an impact on trade in the run-up to Christmas. Many blame the lizards, arguing that the needs of wildlife have come before those of people. (‘Lizards 1: People 0’, reads one headline of Bournemouth’s Daily Echo).

The issue needs a measured response, argues Amphibian and Reptile Conservation in letters to the papers involved.

“Efforts to reduce the impacts of essential road repairs should not be seen as a ‘battle between lizards and motorists’ but rather an attempt to strike a delicate balance between the protection of Dorset’s wildlife and providing a good transport infrastructure.” said Dr. John Wilkinson, a spokesperson for Amphibian and Reptile Conservation.

“The needs of Dorset residents and its protected species are both valid concerns and both must be carefully addressed in large-scale construction projects.” he added.

“More often than not, it is the wildlife that loses out as roads are driven through nature reserves (as is the case here with the Bournemouth spur road), and other natural areas.” said Rowland Griffin, ARC’s Dorset Community Officer.

“This not only negatively impacts wildlife but reduces the areas available to local people for leisure, cycling, walking, horseriding and for simply enjoying the countryside.”

Dorset is a stronghold for lizards, particularly sand lizards – a species restricted to the small pockets of heathland that remain in the UK countryside.

“Dorset would be a much poorer place to live without its wonderful heathlands and the unique wildlife that lives there. On a global scale, Dorset’s lowland heaths are rarer than tropical rainforest.” added Dr. Wilkinson.

Thursday, 5 November 2009

ARC receives warm applause...

Scientists and politicians were among those celebrating the formal launch of Amphibian and Reptile Conservation in London on Wednesday 4th November.

The organisation will lead on conservation efforts to save the UK’s disappearing frogs, toads, newts, snakes and lizards.

Amphibian and Reptile Conservation formed from the merger of national wildlife charities, Froglife and The Herpetological Conservation Trust. The charities merged in order to use limited resources more efficiently to tackle the causes of the recent decline.

“By merging we can achieve more for these animals – by forming a single organisation our thinking is clearer, making partnerships is easier, our money goes further and our message is stronger.” said Dr. Tony Gent, CEO of Amphibian and Reptile Conservation.

Almost half of the world’s amphibians are disappearing, with early indications suggesting that reptiles are likely to be facing a similar risk of extinction. At the launch the charity outlined a ‘rescue plan’ to help save the UK’s thirteen native species.

“These actions give us the direction that we must take as a new organisation, but we need partnerships with other wildlife organisations and commitment to act from those in power, to make them into winning results for reptiles and amphibians.” said Dr. Gent.

The Right Hon. John Gummer MP (Cons), former Secretary of State for the Environment, gave the keynote speech at the launch event: “I am much impressed in the way that this amalgamation has taken place. It is amazingly valuable, and it will give you huge strength.”

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Bonfire warning for garden amphibians

Bonfire night can be a worrying time for hedgehogs. But bonfires, when lit, may also be a potential death trap for some garden frogs and toads, say experts at Amphibian and Reptile Conservation.

Like hedgehogs, amphibians (frogs, toads and newts) seek out sheltered parts of gardens in the autumn weather to prepare for the cold winter. Unlit bonfires can be perfect because they offer protection from predators, and because they attract amphibian prey including woodlice, worms, spiders and beetles.

“Garden frogs, toads and newts can be very active at this time of year as they look to stock up on invertebrate prey for winter,” said Dr. John Wilkinson of Amphibian and Reptile Conservation, a national wildlife charity.

“We advise that people avoid making up their bonfires until the day they’re to be lit – better still make up a similar stack of logs and branches in the corner of your garden and leave it for the frogs.”

Although people may think of amphibians as creatures that occur only in the countryside, gardens are important refuges for many of them.

Losses of ponds in the wider countryside have reduced the habitat available to many of these species: of the UK’s 13 species of amphibians and reptiles, 10 are listed on the Government’s Biodiversity Action Plan (UKBAP) ‘watchlist’.

For more information on looking after amphibians in your garden visit: