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.
The following is from the ARG-UK website:
"Sun, Sea and Sand (Lizards) at the Sefton Coast - This weekend our ARG volunteers [were] working in the Birkdale Dunes on the Sefton Coast providing emergency aid for a very special lizard. The sand lizard is one of Britain's rarest and most beautiful wild animals. And as the name suggests, it is found only in sandy places. Almost all of our sand lizards are confined to a few heathlands in southern England. But local conservationist Mike Brown says, 'There is a distinct form of sand lizard found only on dunes along the Merseyside coast.'
"But all is not well for the Merseyside sand lizard. A recent report has shown that the sand dunes – which are key to the lizards' survival – are becoming overgrown by scrub and trees on the Sefton Coast. The warmth-loving lizards need unshaded, open sand dunes to allow them to bask in the sun and to breed successfully, and without this essential habitat the future looks bleak for them.
"Help is on hand though: supported by the ARG-UK 100% fund, ARG volunteers from Manchester, Bolton and South Wales [were] helping Northwest Merseyside Amphibian and Reptile Group, working alongside Sefton Council's Coast and Countryside team, to tackle the scrub that is swamping dunes at north Birkdale. The out-of-town volunteers include specialist chainsaw operators, who are key to reversing the tide of scrub - vital to keep the sand off the dunes, and the lizards 'running free'.
"The ARG-UK 100% fund is supported by Habitat Aid and all those lovely folks who bought tickets at the Herpetofauna Workers' Meeting raffles in 2013 and 2013."