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Robert V
Senior Member
Joined: 06 Aug 2004
No. of posts: 717


View other posts by Robert V
Posted: 03 Sep 2009

Hi all,

I thought while I was logged in, I'd relate to you a little tale of an enthusiast shut out that happened to me recently. We've all experienced them by now, so nothing ground breaking, just passing time.

As you know, Jon very kindly posted details recently of a transfer of herps from Grays to Wiltshire.

I contacted the company concerned and asked if it would be possible to translocate some to EF...... Sure, they said, good idea, and they asked if I could arrange something.

I contacted EF by email (no answer) then by phone, with the details of the idea.

"Oh", they said, "were already in negotiations with them with reard to that, but thanks anyway."

Strange I thought, so back I went to the company. Guess what? they hadn't been in touch with EF!!!!

So I went back to EF to find out what was happening. Got ignored.

And THAT ladies and gentlemen is why our reptiles and amphibians are declining in the UK. The powers that be do not give a sh*t about the native fauna, they say they do, to preserve their jobs, but really, when push comes to shove, in the words of yoda,

"not a sh*t do they give, never would they."

Rob


RobV
herpetologic2
Senior Member
Joined: 15 Jun 2004
No. of posts: 1369


View other posts by herpetologic2
Posted: 04 Sep 2009
That is very interesting Rob, perhaps they are trying to
increase the reptiles in EF so that they can say that the
SSSI interest features are favourable? you see reptiles
and amphibians are SSSI interest features on EF.

However I would have again be against moving animals
particularly snakes to EF as there is no need to do this.
There are plenty of release sites in the surrounding
landscape around the development site - the purchase of
50 hectares of Essex Marsh means that all the reptiles
could have been conserved in Essex.

The company has been looking for other receptor sites
beyond the county despite the ready made receptor site
they have already created for the few hundred crested
newts - there is plenty of space plus there is plenty of
food - 30,000 smooth newts well for the grass snakes
anyway

Rob you could put in a freedom of information request to
DP World lol

Jon
Vice Chair of ARG UK - self employed consultant -
visit ARG UK & Alresford Wildlife
GemmaJF
Admin Group
Joined: 25 Jan 2003
No. of posts: 2090


View other posts by GemmaJF
Posted: 05 Sep 2009

I heard the real reason for the move was a rather obvious one.

"the purchase of
50 hectares of Essex Marsh means that all the reptiles
could have been conserved in Essex."

Have you surveyed any Essex Marsh recently Jon? I was under the impression that it already supports large populations of the widespread species without dumping more there. Though I must be honest it appears that it isn't a widely know fact that reptiles thrive in Marsh, I remember KWT being surprised when I pointed out the fact they should not accept a developers assessment of Kent Marsh as unsuitable for reptiles. (oh yes it happened after a rather pathetic survey effort).

What I would have liked to have seen was the purchase of agricultural land and something made of it, dumping on existing good and occupied habitat isn't really helping anything, whether it be EF or Essex Marsh or the A12 for that matter.

 


Gemma Fairchild, Independent Ecological Consultant
herpetologic2
Senior Member
Joined: 15 Jun 2004
No. of posts: 1369


View other posts by herpetologic2
Posted: 06 Sep 2009
Hi Gemma

Yes I have been surveying marshland or grazing marsh for
several years. The Essex marshes where there is intensive
grazing are effectively 'agricultural' over the majority
of the area - i.e. unsuitable for reptiles

The site which has been purchased for the newt mitigation
was heavily grazed 'pasture' where the reptiles were
focussed on the suitable pieces of habitat where grazing
was reduced by hedges, fences and other obstacles.

Effectively the marshland which was purchased was less
than 100 metres away from the development site. It was
part of the known range of all the reptiles. Once the
grazing could be removed or manipulated with habitat
management, and creation there were suitable areas to
release animals into within a meta population of
reptiles.

Agricultural land would have taken many seasons to
establish suitable environs for animals. The landscaping
of the new port area along the same road edge of the
receptor site would have been recolonised over the
decades post development etc.

It would have been good to see animals moved to recently
turned farm land into woodland and grassland at the
Thames chase woodland - this would have been inside the
M25 i.e. the London side where new adder populations
could have been established and introduced potentially
into existing populations along the M25 corridor.

I am still of the opinion that the animals should have
stayed in Essex and it is down to the comments of the
local wildlife trust plus the agreement from the
Wiltshire Wildlife Trust that the long distance
translocation occurred.

It has resulted in reduction of the conservation status
of the Essex Herpetofauna which is exactly what we should
not be allowing to happen.

The EARG has not heard whether the animals in 2009 are
still going to Wiltshire but we do know that the
consultants are looking for more sites to dump animals
but again they are not in Essex - the question is WHY?

Vice Chair of ARG UK - self employed consultant -
visit ARG UK & Alresford Wildlife
Robert V
Senior Member
Joined: 06 Aug 2004
No. of posts: 717


View other posts by Robert V
Posted: 07 Sep 2009

Jon,

I think maybe you mis read my posting.

I'm not having any trouble with DP World, in fact quite the opposite, they have been forthcoming, friendly and enthusiatsic about transferring to Ef. It is EF that are being 'difficult.

And I have to disagree with both you and Gemma here, the numbers of reptiles and amphibians within EF has reduced substantially over the last five years. It is desperately in need of fresh blood stock. And have you forgotten EF is in Essex!!!!!

But any improvement is unlikely though given the above.

Cheers

Rob


RobV
GemmaJF
Admin Group
Joined: 25 Jan 2003
No. of posts: 2090


View other posts by GemmaJF
Posted: 07 Sep 2009

Well we don't disagree Jon, but when you stated they should have purchased 'Essex Marsh' obviously I would consider that you meant suitable 'Essex Marsh' not overgrazed. Clearly I'm fully aware of the condition of the Essex Marshes considering I'm surrounded by them

Well I have to disagree with you Rob, sounds like a nice quick fix for EF but it has it's own issues. If as you say the animals are in decline putting more blood in there isn't the answer. I thought most of the issues you have reported were with unsympathetic management at EF. I'm sure the widespread species are not extinct in the area, so lets address the issue rather than pour fuel on the fire. You really don't want to add further competition to the existing animals problems do you?

Jon and I agree, the local conservation status is the only issue here, I would like to see tactical introductions and habitat improvement, but within a few miles of the donor site, not Wiltshire or EF.

GemmaJF40065.5932407407
Gemma Fairchild, Independent Ecological Consultant

- Ignored to death

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