Researchers are investigating adder populations in southern England to see if they are suffering from genetic bottlenecking. This can occur when populations become too small, and low gene flow means they are not enriched by sharing of mutations between numerous individuals.
The Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Trust has released a landmark report compiling the first three years of results from its nationwide widespread species surveys. The results are worrying. Adders seem to be declining fast, and were recorded from only 7% of sites surveyed. Toads, newts, lizards, and in fact all species seem to be declining, except for palmate newt.
CGO Ecology is pleased to hear that two new local ARG groups have been set up for the counties of Nottinghamshire and Hertfordshire. The national network of local voluntary groups is the backbone of herp recording and conservation in the UK.
Spring isn't quite here yet, and there's undoubtedly plenty more cold miserable weather to come, but there are already signs of the reptiles waking up. Reports have come in today from Chris Dresh (ARC Dorset Field Officer) of a sand lizard at Great Ovens Hill and an adder at Lytchett Heath in Dorset. Reports of early adders have also come in from Gower in South Wales and Anglesey in North Wales.
As the field season drew to a close in late October, far-flung places beckoned for me. With work generally fairly slack over the winter period, I prefer to use the opportunity to travel, see new places, new cultures, landscapes, wildlife, and combine this with a spot of 'continued professional development' along the way. I'm currently in Zanzibar, the famous Spice Islands off the coast of Tanzania in the Indian Ocean.
The current spell of warm and sunny weather is showing signs of becoming a longer phase of unseasonably mild weather, and the term 'Indian Summer' is already being banded about. With several days of sunny weather forecast ahead, daily air temperatures are expected to exceed 20°C.
Dorset Amphibian and Reptile Network (DARN) now has a Facebook 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.