RAUK - Archived Forum - Herp conservation, what should be done

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Herp conservation, what should be done:

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Joined: 25 Jan 2003
No. of posts: 2090

View other posts by GemmaJF
Posted: 24 Feb 2011
So what should herp conservation in the UK be about?

It's a topic that crops up  in many threads, more often than not the poster (me included) is talking about what should not have been done and venting some steam.

But what is the big picture? What do county surveys actually do? How should they be carried out?

Do consultancy based mitigations actually conserve or simply tick boxes?

Does the message ever get through to conservation organisations that their activities may be/are harmful to reptile populations? (do they care)

What part do ARGs play? (should they play)

It seems to me we have since RAUK was started discussed many of these topics, passed on many experiences, but what are the solutions we should be aiming for from now on?

How should organisations and individuals interact?

Why is it that many individuals lack any real 'clout' when faced with herp conservation issues on the ground?

Are we as a group of like minded individuals acting more as miners chipping away at the coal face or a coordinated group with clear goals?

When I first stepped into the big world of the internet with RAUK I discovered a world full of 'organisations' that were battling small political points rather than getting on with coordinated herp conservation based on good science, has that changed? When I say 'organisations' often it was actually a single individual or two protecting 'their'  plot and actively excluding or using anyone who was daft enough to get involved. An awful situation of 'this is my ball and I'm damned if anyone else is going to get in on it'. Fortunately I also met a number of individuals who commit a vast amount of time and effort into herp conservation and greatly admire them for it as they quietly change things from within.

Are most of our woes simply because there is little public support for herps?

It would be good to have this thread as a melting pot for these issues in one place and any other points that highlight the 'holes in the cheese' in UK reptile conservation.

It's a shot in the dark kind of post, perhaps I'm wondering as a conservationist and a consultant why I never have much good to say about either, but I hope whatever your background you'll be open and discuss these issues of what you feel herp conservation should be about!

I hope an opportunity to discuss the good as well as the bad.

Also  don't be afraid of posting what you have done or are doing to promote herp conservation, be it a toad crossing, keeping consultants in line, putting up an adder information poster, or organising the survey of an  entire county
Gemma Fairchild, Independent Ecological Consultant
Senior Member
Joined: 06 Apr 2005
No. of posts: 860

View other posts by Suzi
Posted: 24 Feb 2011
As a keen amateur I really have my doubts on surveys. Some sites will surely be over-surveyed and give the impression of a place knee deep in adders or another might appear lacking due to no surveying or the skill of the surveyor.
It might seem that more and more data is being collected and yet we still see herp-unfriendly management going on in the name of conservation.
Were things worse in the bad old days pre-conservation when kids could catch GCNs with a net and keep them for a while to study? When primary schools always had a tank of tadpoles to watch their progress? In fact in the days before herps became the property of experts. Perhaps the public perception is that as the experts are the ones allowed to have most legal access to herps they will be the ones to save them.  This is no reflection on the people in the profession but it seems to be the way a divide has opened up. Without public support it will be a hard slog I guess.

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

View other posts by GemmaJF
Posted: 25 Feb 2011
Not sure about the bad old days, I remember the biology
lab at school had big jars full of pickled palmate newts
that had been collected locally. I certainly never found
one from where I was told they were collected several
years before. I honestly think the biology teacher had
wiped out the entire population!

Records, good for bashing developers, not much help with
conservation organisations who seem to work to a double
standard regarding the WCA. (i.e. for some reason it
doesn't apply to them)

Getting a GCN licence is not all that difficult. It's
entirely field based and I remember really enjoying
getting mine. The trouble is getting two licence holders
prepared to help you out with it. I do though know the
feeling of being a keen amateur and feeling a bit on the
outside. It's a shame really as the only people who
wouldn't handle GCN are probably those interested enough
to realise it's actually an offence under the WCA.

In all the WCA has a lot to answer for. Someone can't dip
a net in their garden pond for fear of catching a cresty,
yet it often fails to bring about the prosecution of a
developer who destroys GCN habitat that is supposed to be
protected. Not well thought out, but I do think in
balance it's all we have and things may well be worse
without it.

For sure I think having newts as pets when I was young
started an obsession, on the other hand the tadpoles at
my primary school developed into a couple of frogs and
the kids pulled their legs off...
Gemma Fairchild, Independent Ecological Consultant
Baby Sue
Senior Member
Joined: 19 Feb 2008
No. of posts: 412

View other posts by Baby Sue
Posted: 28 Feb 2011

[QUOTE=GemmaJF] and the kids pulled their legs off...[/QUOTE]


Baby Sue40602.4738888889
I wanted presents from lots of you. Snot fair that Ben Rigsby was the only one to send me Xmas & birthday presents.

- Herp conservation, what should be done

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