Adders in crisis, declare experts

tThe adder, Britain's only venomous snake, is in crisis. This is the conclusion drawn by a group of reptile experts and conservationists who attended a conference on the latest research on adders, including reports about its status in this country.

Toad road mortality leads to virtual extinction

Arnold Cooke is well known to many in the herpetological world. Both a prominent professional ecologist, and a highly-regarded amphibian specialist, he has worked with amphibians for many years. Most famously he has conducted the UK's longest-standing study of common toads and the effect of road mortality on their populations. 

The Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (IEEM) is the UK’s main professional body for ecologists, nature conservation practitioners, ecological consultants and the like. Whilst membership is not a life-or-death choice, there are times when it has distinct benefits. Today’s IEEM conference at the Liner Hotel in Liverpool was one such occasion.

March of the knotweeds

Japanese knotweed (Fallopia japonica) and its sister species, giant knotweed (Fallopia sachalinensis), are the scourge of Britain. Originally introduced in the early 19th century as ornamental and fodder plants, and celebrated for their amazing ability to survive the slopes of active volcanoes in their native Japan, these species have become a nightmare for developers and house-owners alike.

Add an Adder campaign still going strong

It is encouraging to see that Amphibian and Reptile Conservation's "Add an Adder" recording campaign ( is still going strong after six years. In this time it has gathered well over 4,000 records of adder sightings - past and present - from members of the public. The website shows a map of recent adder sightings (green dots) and those that are probably now extinct (red dots).

The Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (IEEM) has just published a set of guidance notes to advise wildlife surveyors and other practitioners on the skills needed for species surveys. The new notes - called “Competencies for Species Survey (CSS) Guidance" - have been a year in the making, and are the result of consultation with practitioners, conservation NGOs and SNCOs.

A new Code has been produced for dealing with stranded turtles found on UK coastlines. The code is produced by a partnership including the Marine Conservation Society and the Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Trust. The Code advises anyone who finds a stranded marine turtle on what to do, who to report it to, and who to get emergency assistance from.