"Dedicated to the revival of the slow worm and common lizard"
As I mentioned in my last post, I am thrilled to be part of an exciting new project taking place that is dedicated to the revival of the slow worm and common lizard. Like all of the UK’s 7 reptile species, the slow worm and common lizard (despite the latter’s name) have been in decline. After reading through several papers which report on their distribution, a clear pattern has emerged. The main cause of their decline is due to habitat loss. The slow worm has one of the widest distributions of any reptile in the Western Palaearctic region, which in theory should give it an advantage, however it too has suffered national decline.
Dawberry fields is based in the south of Birmingham. It has been described by local wildlife watchers as a hidden gem that could benefit massively from a little ‘polishing’ shall we say. Through its ‘Future park’s acceleration scheme’, Birmingham city council have teamed up with the Wildlife Trust to develop a habitat creation project at Dawberry fields to help their slow worm and common lizard population.
The plan is to install banks and stones to provide safe places for these protected species to bask and hibernate, as well as creating habitats for a range of other wildlife through the creation of wildflower areas. However, I am hoping to take this project one step further. Before we start getting our hands dirty, I would like to collect data to establish the existing population of both species. Throughout the project I hope to continue to record information that will illuminate their ecology. Over time this will allow comparative conclusions to be made to determine the success of the project. Few studies have been conducted to establish the ecology of the UK’s reptiles, especially of inner-city populations. The majority of papers I have read on the topic, have been based on studies conducted in areas which have previously been known to have high capture rates, such as Dorset.
This project will not only allow us to salvage a population of slow worm and common lizard and allow it to thrive, but to also get a better insight into their world, which could assist in providing the framework for future projects in other areas.
We hope to kickstart the project at the beginning of May, however that is all very much dependent on funding. We are trying to raise £2000 to get this project off the ground. If you could spare anything to help towards us achieving this goal, we would be extremely grateful. I will be documenting the process as it unfolds, hopefully with some promising initial finds. If you would like to donate, please follow the link HERE.
I thank you hugely in advance!