Britain’s rarest lizard released into wild
September marked an important milestone for Marwell Wildlife, as the conservation charity released the final 80 juvenile sand lizards, one the UK’s rarest reptiles, onto Eelmoor Marsh Site of Special Scientific Interest, near Farnborough, the last phase of a three-year release plan and research project.
Once common across heathlands of southern England, sand lizard numbers have decreased dramatically due to habitat loss and fragmentation. They are now only found in a handful of heathland and dune sites in southern England, Wales and Merseyside.
The focus of the intensive three-year research, led by Rachel Gardner, PhD student from Marwell Wildlife and University of Southampton, has been monitoring the animals following their release.
This year’s release brings the total count of sand lizards reintroduced to Eelmoor Marsh to over 240 individuals, with the aim to establish a self-sustaining population, at a site which would have fallen within the species’ indigenous range.