Rare Merseyside lizards get a helping hand with egg laying20/06/2014 07:05:46
North Merseyside Amphibian and Reptile Group (NMARG) is celebrating the successful creation of egg-laying sites especially for the Merseyside sand lizard, a unique form of this rare and strictly protected species which has very specific egg-laying requirements.
Volunteers from the Amphibian and Reptile Group network have been spearheading emergency habitat restoration for the sand lizard on the Sefton Coast over the winter months.
They have created over 150 sand patches among the dunes of the Sefton Coast for the animals.
Now they can report that initial indications are that the sand lizards have adopted these egg-laying sites.
At one location where the species had formerly been in decline, NMARG found 11 female lizards, many investigating the newly managed sand patches where they will soon lay eggs.
Mike Brown, Chairman of NMARG said: “ This clearly shows that habitat and species monitoring, combined with targeted habitat management, can have positive results in a very short space of time.”
With funding from the British Herpetological Society and ARG UK, volunteers from several ARG groups linked forces with conservation professionals from The Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Trust and Sefton Council to remove vegetation shading the sand lizard habitat.
Monitoring of both site habitat condition and the species, carried out by NMARG, has allowed prioritisation of management activities, and the work goes on.
“In spite of the success of the habitat management work, there is a great deal more to do, especially tree and scrub removal and sand patch creation, to ensure the local sand lizard survives and increases in numbers,” said Brown.
For more information, and to find out how you can help, visit www.arc-trust.org