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Reptile Displacement / Dissuassion

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Adderz View Drop Down
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Joined: 01 Mar 2011
Location: United Kingdom
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    Posted: 07 Dec 2015 at 12:44pm
Hi All,

I am an ecological consultant and I am undertaking some winter research to develop company protocol in respect to reptile mitigation. The area I am particularly interested in is reptile displacement (or ‘dissuasion’) via habitat manipulation. I am interested in the use of this method as a means of avoiding very small-scale localised translocations often in sub-optimal habitat, rather than the use of this technique to increase capture rates within a fenced translocation compartment.

For background, I have worked in consultancy for a number of years and have a decent level of reptile experience, but thought it would be really useful to get the input from members on here. I should also be clear that this is an exercise to develop evidence-based company protocol in what is a widely used but decidedly ‘grey’ area within the industry, and is not to inform a project.

The approach of displacing / dissuading reptiles from specific areas back into adjacent (and directly connected) suitable habitat seems to widely used across the industry to varying extents. However, this practice seems to be backed up by little or no research on its effectiveness or evidence-based guidance on its appropriate application. I understand it is the job of the ecologist to decide ‘appropriate application’ however I find it difficult to justify any conclusions on this without research evidence.

So I wanted to ask forum members if you know of any guidance / research / papers which have looked at this topic? I have had a search of all the usual sources and found nothing, and can’t find any research covering this topic.

A quick trawl of the internet reveals numerous different methods statements which demonstrate the great variance in how this method is applied, but I feel in some cases this method could be appropriate (i.e. gradually strimming very small areas back towards retained habitat where highly mobile species are present) whereas in many cases it is inappropriate (i.e. projects involving less mobile species i.e. slow worm, and/or clearance of larger areas). The type of questions I am trying to answer are:

Is this method effective for all common species? My thoughts are that it isn’t, particularly for slow worm, unless it is applied over very small areas.

The size of areas that method would be appropriate for? My thoughts are that this will vary greatly depending on which species are present.

Are surveys always the necessary first step, even if it already appears that the most appropriate mitigation would be displacement via habitat clearance (e.g. in the case of losing 2 metres worth of a large road embankment / verge)?

I am not expecting answers to the above, but just wanted to highlight the information I think is required in order to be sure of applying the method appropriately. Any information or links to research on the above topic (if they exist), or your personal experience / opinions, would be greatly appreciated.       

Best wishes

Rob
I started out with nothing and I've still got most of it left....
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