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Reptile Survey and Mitigation Guidance for Peatland Habitats Published!

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Reptile Survey and Mitigation Guidance for Peatland Habitats Published!

A new guidance document for reptile survey and mitigation in peatland habitats has been published by Amphibian & Reptile Groups of the UK (ARG UK), supported by Froglife, the Herpetological Society of Ireland (the HSI), and Amphibian & Reptile Conservation Trust (ARC Trust).  The publication of this document is significant, as there has long been a guidance vacuum for reptiles – this goes a small way to filling that gap.

All native reptile species are legally protected in the UK and Ireland, and so consideration should be given to mitigation to avoid committing an offence under the relevant nation-specific legislation (note that wildlife protection law is devolved and varies between individual UK countries).

The document, authored by Caledonian Conservation Ltd Director Chris Cathrine, focuses on Scotland where peatland habitats are extensive.  However, it could be applied to England, Wales, Northern Ireland, or Ireland where peatland habitats also occur.  The guidance is intended to assist in designing mitigation for impacts on reptiles during peatland restoration works but the methods described may also be suitable for the construction phase of some developments on these habitats.  Similarly, some of the approaches described could be adapted, with care, for reptiles occurring on other habitats.

The guidance provides information on peatland reptile ecology, potential impacts, survey methods, and approaches to mitigation to avoid harm to reptiles and construct hibernation features.  A decision tree flow chart is also provided, to help site managers to consider reptiles while planning works.

The new Reptile Survey and Mitigation Guidance for Peatland Habitats document can be downloaded at:


Winners of 'Amazing Animals, Brilliant Science' Competition

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Winners of 'Amazing Animals, Brilliant Science' Competition

The winners of the Amazing Animals, Brilliant Science competition have been presented with their awards at Edinburgh Zoo, including Caledonian Conservation beanie hats!  

Young artists and writers from across Scotland attended the event on 21st October, organised by the Amphibian and Reptile Conservation (ARC) Trust and hosted by the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS).  Children aged 8-18 were asked to paint, draw or write about 15 iconic Scottish species, ranging from Scottish wildcats and red deer to great crested newts. According to ARC's patron and TV presenter Chris Packham: "There are some very striking, imaginative and colourful artworks... and some tremendous essays describing these wonderful animals."

Caledonian Conservation were proud to sponsor the event, with Director Chris Cathrine saying: “Young people are losing their connection to the natural world.  If people don’t care about wildlife, they won’t want to protect it.  It is therefore essential to ensure that the next generation have the opportunity to explore and share in the wonder of Scotland’s wildlife.  It’s an honour and a privilege to help young people build their connection with nature.  Who knows, maybe some of the winners will go on to become the ecologists of the future.”

The creative work done by the children will now be used to help illustrate a new book called "Amazing Animals, Brilliant Science: how DNA technology is being used to help save Scotland's wildlife". The book is being compiled by Dr Pete Minting of ARC.

The Amazing Animals, Brilliant Science competition is part of ARC's Great Crested Newt Detectives project in Scotland, which started in April 2016 and runs until March 2018, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH), the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) and ARC.

To read more about Amazing Animals, Brilliant Science go to this website:

You can learn more about Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Trust here:

The photo was provided by Pete Minting (ARC) and is used with permission.


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