‘How Lytham sand dunes are saving Britain’s rarest lizard’ is the title of a special report from ITV news. Reporter, Sarah Rogers (pictured in featured photograph), has shared how a local specialist conservation programme is attempting to bring one Britain’s rarest reptiles back to our area for good.
Sadly, sand lizards disappeared from Lytham’s sand dunes in the 1960’s due to being preyed upon by birds and the loss of habitat, but for the last four years conservationists have been releasing hundreds of them back into our dunes to stop them dying out completely.
The ITV feature shows how the Sefton sand lizard – the rarest type – is bred by Paul Hudson at his home in Penrith as part of a joint project between Fylde Council and Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Trust. Paul’s built a 20 foot sand dune there to mimic the right habitat the sand lizards will get in the wild. This year he has 35 to release into the wild. Once into the vegetation they’re hard to spot and monitor, they’ll separate and find one another to mate in a couple of years’ time.
The project was kept a secret for three years to help the population establish itself without human intervention. It’s an offence to disturb or capture these rare creatures.
This year’s release is thought to be last as it’s hoped there will now be enough to sustain the population.
Additionally, as the sand lizards’ habitat is also under threat, the Wildlife Trust has been building up the dunes by burying Christmas trees and erecting special fences to stop the sand being washed or blown. Amy Pennington from the Lancashire Wildlife Trust explains, ‘Over the last 150 years we’ve lost 80% of our sand dunes which is a huge amount and it’s very, very important for us that we build that back up.’ If the sand dunes didn’t exist not only would the town be liable to flooding, vital wildlife and vegetation would cease to exist.
You can see the video about the local Sand Lizards from ITV News here: https://www.itv.com/news/granada/2021-08-13/tidal-tales-how-lytham-sand-dunes-are-saving-britains-rarest-lizard?fbclid=IwAR3y9zyCiZjK9dlKHB_4mPm4Z70l7dWeGrYQwkfrw6Yp81wd31N6Uc09KeU
You can find out more about the Wildlife Trust’s work on our dunes here: https://www.lancswt.org.uk/our-work/projects/fylde-sand-dunes