Rare sand lizards released back to Fylde sand dunes

Fifty rare sand lizards have been released on our sand dunes as part of a long-term conservation project. They are part of a reintroduction project which has seen the return of 300 of the reptiles since they were wiped out from our area in the 1960s.

This helping hand to save the UK’s rarest lizard is supported by Fylde Council, who are partners in this long-term conservation scheme which aims to restore the species’ status and historic range within the UK.

Captive bred juveniles are released on to the Fylde Sand Dunes in early September each year to allow the animals to gradually get used to their new home before they hibernate in the winter. Currently there are two captive breeding centres for the sand lizards, which are expertly managed by Ray Lynch and Paul Hudson. Their centres have outdoor enclosures that mimic the sand lizard’s natural dune environment, and they provide the juvenile sand lizards. All the lizards released were juveniles, born this summer and only a few centimetres long. They will feed on insects before going into hibernation for the winter.

Andrew Mills, Sand dunes Area Conservation Ranger from Fylde Council shares more of this story: ‘Over the last three years the team have released over 300 sand lizards on to the Fylde dunes. It has been a great project to be involved in and we have already had a success story with hatched eggs found in September 2019 proving that the conditions here can support a healthy population of sand lizards. Sand lizards are such amazing animals and it’s such a shame that their range has reduced due to habitat loss and fragmentation, hopefully projects such as this one on the Fylde dunes and across the UK can help boost their population. It’s been great to work with Paul and Ray who have done a fantastic job rearing the animals and passing their knowledge on to the rest of the team. It is an exciting time on the dunes, and I am looking forward to watching how the population develops.’

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