Rare native sand lizards reintroduced to Flintshire
This article is old - Published: Wednesday, Sep 11th, 2013
The amphibian and reptile conservation trust – ARC, in collaboration with Natural England and Natural Resources Wales, are giving the UK’s rarest lizard species a helping hand.
Around 60 captive bred sand lizards will be released at Talacre as part of a long-term conservation project to restore species status and historic range.
The native sand lizard has been lost from north Wales, due to habitat fragmentation via development and land use change throughout history, populations now only remain in Merseyside, Surrey and Dorset and even in these areas losses of up to 97% of the species have occurred.
Sand lizards require very specific habitat; sand dunes and lowland dry heath and the 7 sites have been specially prepared to give the lizards’ optimum chance of success as part of the UK’s Biodiversity Action Plan.
There are ten captive breeding centres which include Chester Zoo, Marwell Wildlife, New Forest Reptile Centre and Avon Heath Country Park and a small number of private breeders. Each location has outdoor enclosures that mimic the sand lizards’ natural environment.
The captive bred lizards are released in early September to allow time for them to settle in their new environments before going in to hibernation in October.
To date more than 9000 lizards have been released with a high success rate.
Jonathan Webster, ARC Chair of Trustees said
“We are delighted with the success of the sand lizard re-introduction programme. So far the partnerships have instigated 74 re-introductions to both dune and heathland sites in 12 Vice-Counties and restored the species to 7 of them. 80% of these have been successful or are going well and more are planned for the future.”
To find out more visit the ARC trust website