Wildlife experts urge public not to disturb reptiles
Thursday 25th June 2015
(Above) Sand Lizard © Andy Fale (below) tin with DWT label on © Amber Rosenthal (below) Upton Heath © Tony Bates
Dorset Wildlife Trust (DWT) and Amphibian and Reptile Conservation (ARC) are asking members of the public not to lift up ‘tin’s found on nature reserves. Legally protected reptiles use these for shelter, and disturbing protected species could result in breaking the law.
Conservationists leave small pieces of tin, or sometimes roofing felt, out on heathland and other wildlife sites for reptiles to use as shelter, and to help with conservation survey and monitoring work. Lifting or removal of these tins should only be carried out by a person with a licence to survey for reptiles. Too much lifting of these tins can cause enough disturbance for reptiles to move away from the area completely.
If tins are disturbed it can affect the results of a survey
Senior Reserves Manager for ARC, Gary Powell, said, “Understanding the distribution of reptiles is an important part of being able to conserve them. If tins are disturbed outside of an official survey then it can affect the results of the research, as animals will not remain under the tin once it has been lifted. We are concerned for the safety of both humans and animals, as adders also utilise tins and although they are non-aggressive, they may bite if they feel threatened. One of the best ways to see our native reptiles in the wild are those moments when you observe them going about their normal activities. A keen eye and plenty of patience are key ingredients!”
People don't realise that lifting tins can have a negative impact on reptiles
DWT’s Reserves Recording and Monitoring Officer, Amber Rosenthal said, “It is great when people have close encounters with any of the beautiful reptiles that occur on our reserves and taking photographs is a popular way for people to share their experiences, as long as the animals aren’t disturbed by lifting the tins or man- handled to achieve this. Many people don’t realise that lifting these tins can have a negative impact on our snakes and lizards so DWT is now putting notices on the tins on our nature reserves to help ensure the continued protection of these magnificent reptiles.”
All six native reptiles can be found on DWT's Upton Heath
All six native reptiles can be found on DWT’s Upton Heath in Corfe Mullen, including the smooth snake, adder and grass snake, the common lizard, slow worm and the UK’s rarest lizard, the sand lizard. All six are legally protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and are classified as a Priority species in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan. The sand lizard and smooth snake are also receive protection at the European level under the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010.
For more information...
For more information about reptiles and exploring heathland in Dorset, phone DWT’s Great Heath Living Landscape team on 01202 692033. Find out more about Upton Heath.
Notes to Editor
For more information please contact Sally Welbourn at Dorset Wildlife Trust on 01305 264620.
Working for a secure future for Dorset’s wildlife enriching the quality of life
Dorset Wildlife Trust works to champion wildlife and natural places, to engage and inspire people and to promote sustainable living. Founded in 1961, DWT is now the largest voluntary nature conservation organisation in Dorset, with over 25,000 members and over 40 nature reserves. Most are open daily and there are visitor centres providing a wealth of wildlife information at Brooklands Farm, Lorton Meadows, Kingcombe Meadows and Brownsea Island Nature Reserves, The Purbeck Marine Wildlife Reserve and the Urban Wildlife Centre at Upton Heath Nature Reserve. DWT plays a key role in dealing with local environmental issues and leads the way in establishing the practices of sustainable development and engaging new audiences in conservation, particularly in the urban areas.
The Great Heath Living Landscape an Urban Living Landscape in Dorset will deliver the following exciting objectives:
Sites include land at Hampreston and High Mead Lane, Award Road, Ferndown Common, Delph Wood, Arrowsmith Copse, Dunyeats Hill, Corfe Lodge Road, Upton Heath, Beacon Hill, Cottage Farm (Happy Bottom), Ashington Paddock, Barrow Hill, Wimborne Road, Rushcombe Bottom, Parley Common, Tricketts Cross, Lytchett Bay and Holes Bay.
The full Great Heath Living Landscape project will cost will be £4.7 million, we have already secured £2 million and have been awarded £2.7 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund and need to raise further funds by public appeal.
The Great Heath Living Landscape is a partnership project involving Dorset Wildlife Trust, the Erica Trust, Poole Harbour Commissioners, Borough of Poole, Dorset County Council Countryside Service, Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Trust. Partners also include Bournemouth Borough Council, Christchurch and East Dorset Councils and Natural England.
Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF)
Using money raised through the National Lottery, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) aims to make a lasting difference for heritage, people and communities across the UK and help build a resilient heritage economy. From museums, parks and historic places to archaeology, natural environment and cultural traditions, we invest in every part of our diverse heritage. HLF has supported 36,000 projects with £6bn across the UK. For more information, please contact Katie Owen, HLF press office, on tel: 020 7591 6036/07973 613820.
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