Training the Cyril Diver volunteers

Yesterday CGO Ecology's Chris Gleed-Owen and ARC's Nick Moulton were out on Studland Peninsula in Dorset, training reptile survey volunteers for the Cyril Diver Project. Despite a grim start to the weather, the sun came out, and we saw dozens of sand lizards, plus a smooth snake and lots of slow-worms.

Last Saturday I spent an enjoyable and highly-educational day learning about cetacean and seabird ID. The location: Dorset Wildlife Trust's Chesil Beach Centre, between Weymouth and Portland, with panoramic views of Portland, Portland Harbour, the Fleet, and of course, Chesil Beach. The trainer: Adrian from MARINElife, a UK charity dedicated to cetacean and seabird conservation through research and education.

A taskforce of hardworking team of volunteers from the amphibian and reptile group network ARG-UK has just returned from a habitat-management taskforce to the Sefton Coast of Merseyside. The group, funded by a grant from ARG-UK's 100% Fund and conservation NGO Habitat Aid, carried out urgent scrub clearance to help save a sand lizard population from extinction.

LIMÓN, Costa Rica— Conservation groups today announced a $10,000 reward for information on the brutal killing of Jairo Mora Sandoval, a sea turtle activist working to protect nesting sea turtles on Costa Rica's Caribbean coast near Limón. According to media reports, the 26-year-old conservationist was kidnapped by armed men on Thursday; his body was found a day later.

Dorset Amphibian and Reptile Network (DARN) now has a Facebook groupFacebook group. Join the group and add any herp-related news or suggestions, or contact us to be added to the DARN email circulation list. DARN will also have a website soon, thanks to funding from Amphibian and Reptile Groups of the UK (ARG UK) and the Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Trust (ARC). It should be up and running within a few weeks. The website will have an online recording function (with data passed on to ARC and DERC in due course). In the meantime, continue to use the Facebook group to post your herp photos, comments, suggestions, news and other items.

On a recent trip to Turkey, CGO Ecology's Chris Gleed-Owen visited the DEKAMER research and rehabilitation centre at Iztuzu Beach in Turkey. Situated behind an important turtle nesting beach near Dalyan on Turkey's Mediterranean coast, DEKAMER rescues injured marine turtles and nurses them back to health. Most of the turtles are loggerheads, but green turtles and the occasional leatherback are known from the area.

The UK's two main herpetofauna charities - Froglife and The Herpetological Conservation Trust (the HCT) - have today merged to form a single new charity called 'Amphibian and Reptile Conservation’. Traditionally, Froglife focused its efforts on awareness and public campaigns, whereas the HCT's emphasis was on rare species conservation and managing 80 nature reserves.

The Dorset Amphibian and Reptile Network (DARN) is a communication and action network set up to further the conservation of native amphibians and reptiles in the county of Dorset. Membership is by inclusion on an email circulation list, and the group is run by volunteers.