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Another Heath Fire

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rags Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Apr 2015 at 10:23pm
Well wouldn't you know. Two of us from the forum out on the same site today without even realising!

It was great to see so many people giving up their bank holiday to help reptiles.

...and a weird thing, seeing an adder against an all black background makes you realise what beautiful snakes they are.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ChrisR Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Apr 2015 at 3:54pm
I was there too. Fantastic turn out and hundreds of reptiles re-homed. 
Chris
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote PondDragon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Apr 2015 at 6:10pm
Possibly a silly question, but would there be any merit in adding a substantial number of artificial refuges to the burnt areas to provide cover for surviving reptiles (and other species)? Perhaps concentrated around known hibernation areas, or used to create semi-continuous corridors of cover to enable movement between e.g. hibernation, breeding and feeding areas, and linking areas of surviving habitat.

Possibly the cost/time involved would be prohibitively expensive. I was thinking about maybe small brushwood / dead-hedge kind of piles, rather than felts/tins - perhaps transporting material onto the site would just be too awkward.

Regarding the 'rescued' animals - are these just being moved to unburnt areas of the heath, or being moved elsewhere entirely?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote GemmaJF Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Apr 2015 at 6:16pm
Artificial refuges may be of limited use as they generally work best with a bed of vegetation under them. One could try putting hay under them, we did that on a site once and worked well enough.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Richard2 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Apr 2015 at 6:37pm
That's an interesting idea. I don't think I am expert enough to judge, but I'll venture some thoughts. In giving protection from predators, artificial refugia might be a useful stopgap, but they would not nourish the community of invertebrates the animals need to survive for any length of time. And the cover the refugia provided would be isolated. Crossing the burnt ground from refuge to refuge would still be dangerous. So these refugia would only buy a bit of time in which more animals could be captured and moved. 

I was there again this morning. Again, the weather was perfect, but there were many fewer animals in evidence. Perhaps that is encouraging, though the populations must have been a lot larger than the numbers that have been caught. Very few Smooth Snakes and Slow Worms have been seen. Perhaps these animals have not yet come out of hibernation.

Most are being released in the undamaged parts of the heath. Some of the Sand Lizards will be kept for the captive breeding programme, I am told.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Suzy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Apr 2015 at 9:32pm
I would also say if refugia are decided upon, then make sure they're in places where the public is less likely to walk. This makes for a lot of carrying work but does mean they are less likely to be moved, chucked away or just generally messed about with.
Suz
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Richard2 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Apr 2015 at 10:18pm
These are the official figures.

Monday

140 common lizards
51 sand lizards
18 adders 
10 grass snakes
2 slow worms
There may well have been more that were un-recorded.

 

Today

We managed to catch and relocate 11 common lizards, a grass snake, an adder and finally a smooth snake; only the second that we have caught in the whole operation.









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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote GemmaJF Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Apr 2015 at 8:13pm
I would have thought placing ACO with hay under might improve the number of slow worm and smooth snakes rescued. 

Seems to be a correlation to both species being more fossorial in nature than the others to the capture rate, rather than a reflection of species status onsite?

I have literally hundreds of ready cut Onduline ACO in store at the moment. If anyone can pick them up from Essex I would be more than happy for them to be used in the rescue.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Richard2 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Apr 2015 at 5:54pm
http://www.bournemouthecho.co.uk/news/12884849.400_creatures_rescued_after_devastating_heath_blaze_at_St_Catherine_s_Hill/
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tom Omlette Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Apr 2015 at 6:11pm
well done everyone involved in the rescue effort. i know its been a really terrible time but you should all be very proud of what you have done.

tim

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