9 April 2009

Easter egg search…

As an alternative to the seasonal celebrations, Froglife is recommending that people go searching for newt eggs this Easter Holiday weekend, and help conservation efforts that may save some amphibians from further declines.

“April is an excellent time to reach for the torch to search for newts while they are laying their eggs on pond plants.” said Lucy Benyon, Froglife's Wildlife Information Officer. “Many pond-owners don’t even realise they have newts in their gardens, so now is the best time to have a look while they’re in ponds egg-laying."

Unlike frogs and toads, newts lay their jelly-covered eggs one-by-one. Female newts quietly lay them on the leaves of submerged pond-plants, before curling the leaves over them for protection. Each female newt can lay over a hundred eggs in a season.

Froglife recommends that those with newts in their gardens take part in a national ‘stocktake’ of amphibians and reptiles, being undertaken by Froglife, the British Trust for Ornithology and the Herpetological Conservation Trust.

The results will contribute to knowledge of where frogs, toads, newts, snakes and lizards are found nationally and allow scientists a better insight to how important gardens are for their conservation.

The stock-take is open to all garden-owners, whether they have frogs, toads, newts, snakes or lizards (or none of these species - the information is still valuable). To get hold of your ‘Reptiles and Amphibians in Your Garden’ pack, visit: www.froglife.org/projects/garden_reptiles_amphibs.htm

6 April 2009

Froglife is metamorphosing…

Froglife and The Herpetological Conservation Trust (The HCT) have announced their intention to merge, forming one single strong conservation NGO.

The new organisation will be called the Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Trust and will continue the range of activities currently undertaken by Froglife and the HCT, while providing a stronger basis for conserving amphibians and reptiles in the future.

Both Froglife and the HCT have worked closely on key issues in recent years, including the Government’s Biodiversity Action Plans, on issues like amphibian disease and on advice and guidance for the public and land-managers. Throughout this time it has become increasingly clear that the two organisations could be many times more effective in their mutual aim of conserving amphibians and reptiles, if united as a single organisation – giving the organisations a full range of skills and projects that could not be achieved in any other manner.

Although the decision has been made to merge, the details, and timescales, of the necessary processes have not been finalised. While this is happening, the two organisations will continue to exist as separate entities but will be working increasingly closely with each other to a common set of goals.

Both Froglife and the HCT will be posting more details in due course. For more information on the HCT please visit: http://www.herpconstrust.org.uk/