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Matt Harris
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Posted: 03 Jun 2003 Topic: Common Lizard Identification & Sightings



Hi Wolfgang,

Just to be nosey, when you say BIX did you see them at the Warburg Reserve?  I did herp survey there for a year in 1998/9.  Fantastic place not just for reptiles, but birds, orchids, butterflies etc.

Matthew




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Matt Harris
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Posted: 09 Jun 2003 Topic: Bufo bufo ssp?



Any ideas on this Bufo, from the Ebro region of northeast Spain - gets to the size of a teaplate apparently, and could eat three of our British B bufo at a time!!




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Matt Harris
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Posted: 26 Jun 2003 Topic: WILDLIFE AND ENVIRoNMENTAL CRIME CoNFEREN



10th June 2003

Dear Colleague 

THE 3rd WILDLIFE AND ENVIRONMENTAL CRIME CONFERENCE 2003

Monday 17th November ű Tuesday 18th November 2003

We are very pleased to invite you to the 3rd Wildlife and Environmental Crime Conference 2003. To continue with the partnership approach, this years Conference will be jointly hosted by the Countryside Council for Wales and Dyfed Powys Police.   We would very much like you to join us for the Conference which will commence at lunchtime on Monday 17th November, finishing with lunch, on Tuesday 18th. The venue is The Metropole Hotel, Llandrindod Wells . The hotel is centrally situated within reach of a train station.  

The aim of the conference is to reduce wildlife and environmental crime by encouraging communication, co-operation and the lawful exchange of information between interested organisations. By sharing this knowledge and expertise to further understanding and raise awareness, we can advance the conservation and enhancement of the rich wildlife, habitat and landscapes of Wales.

Once again, we are seeking contributions to the conference from colleagues wishing to share their expertise and experiences, plus the wider implications of cases they have been involved in. There will also be the opportunity to display information or include publications within the delegate packs, on the role of your organisation in the fight against environmental and wildlife crime.

We hope you will find the conference both interesting and useful. We welcome new delegates and look forward to reacquainting ourselves with those of you we have met over the past two years!

If you wish to attend, please contact

Gillian Bilsborough/Carys Roberts,

Species Protection Team

Countryside Council for Wales,

Maes y Ffynnon,

Penrhosgarnedd,

Bangor,

Gwynedd, LL57 2DN 

Yours faithfully,           

Terrence Grange, QPM, MSc                        &            Ms Gillian Bilsborough

Chief Constable                                            Species Protection Officer

Dyfed Powys Police                                      Countryside Council for Wales


Gwent Amphibian and Reptile Group (GARG)
Matt Harris
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Joined: 03 Jun 2003
No. of posts: 196


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Posted: 27 Jun 2003 Topic: 5th World Herp Congress



FIFTH WORLD CONGRESS OF HERPETOLOGY

CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA

20-27 November 2005

The Executive Committee of the World Congress of Herpetology voted in favour of Cape Town, South Africa as the venue for the 5th World Congress.

We hereby cordially invite you to join us for an unforgettable experiencein one of the Worlds premier tourism destinations and experience South Africa at its best.

The Herpetological Association of Africa (HAA) will assist in furthering the aims of the Congress and invites you to visit their website for furtherdetails and regular updates on the Congress www.wits.ac.za/haa). The congress organisers, Conferences et al. will soon have more informationavailable on the Congress and will set up a dedicated website please watchthe HAA website for details. Prospective delegates are invited to visit these sites frequently to get updates on the latest developments. Pleasecontact the congress secretariat at conf@conferencesetal.co.za for
additional information and to have your name put on the mailing list forfurther announcements.




Gwent Amphibian and Reptile Group (GARG)
Matt Harris
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Posted: 01 Jul 2003 Topic: Is Aesculapian snake still around?



Aesculapians - I worked at WMZ for a few months in 1996 and saw roadkill Aesculapians and sloughed skins that the gardeners brought in.

Wall lizards - I emailed someone a few years ago, who had put an article in the Natterjack, about the colony at the Cotswold WildlifePark. I was told at the time they were probably P sicula, but it was great to see them whatever they were, crawling onto the giant tortoises to bask etc.

Incidentally, you would, strictly speaking,need a license to re-release these non-native species into the wild in the UK.




Gwent Amphibian and Reptile Group (GARG)
Matt Harris
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Posted: 01 Jul 2003 Topic: Is Aesculapian snake still around?



<<I don't really see these snakes having any negative impact >> Neither do I and I hope they contine to thrive, but with regards to releasing non-native spp., you have to draw the line somewhere, otherwise you're looking at the thin end of the wedge. It is prudent to ban release of non-natives outright rather than have a specialist make a decision as to whether it's release will be detrimental or not.

The findings I know of were all within the zoo grounds.

At the CWP, the area of wall where the Podarcis hatchlings used to appear in late summer was cemented up because it was getting dangerous. I never saw any juveniles after that.




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Matt Harris
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Posted: 02 Jul 2003 Topic: Population estimates



There's this table on DEFRA's website from 1995, if it's the kind of thing you're looking for.

http://www.defra.gov.uk/environment/statistics/des/wildlife/wld2223.htm


Gwent Amphibian and Reptile Group (GARG)
Matt Harris
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Posted: 07 Jul 2003 Topic: Developers & BAP Species



BAPs are the responsibility of Local Authorities, though there will be other partners for specific HAP's and SAP's, including English Nature etc. The BAp's and the partners involved in them are listed on the UKBAP website, and I would have thought that contacting some of these partners might help.

As I understand it, BAP species have no legal protection per se, its just that the LA is obliged to write the BAP (though not to implement it), unless the same species have protection through the WCA 1981 or Habitats Regulations.




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Matt Harris
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Posted: 10 Jul 2003 Topic: please help, what is this snake?



Any reason why you wouldn't say it's a corn snake?


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Matt Harris
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Posted: 10 Jul 2003 Topic: Drift fencing



Are there any suppliers of pre-fabricated drift fencing, or do people normally improvise with ordinary materials?


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Matt Harris
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Posted: 14 Jul 2003 Topic: Body bits



I spoke to Rhys the other day and it sounds like he's still interested in receiving samples, though more especially from Wales.


Snake Tissue Samples Wanted for Study
Rhys Jones, based at Cardiff University, needs samples of snake tissue for a study of the genetics and distribution of adders Vipera berus and grass snakes Natrix natrix throughout Britain (and Europe).

Rhys is looking for samples of, or whole, dead snakes or snake sloughs. He needs to know where the snake originated. If you have access to such tissues (e.g. preserved road kills, or collected sloughs) please contact: Rhys Jones, G10, BIOSI 1, Main Building, Cardiff University, Park Place, Cardiff CF10 4BT, 029 20875776 (Lab), JonesR9@cf.ac.uk



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Matt Harris
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Posted: 16 Jul 2003 Topic: Fire-bellied toad?



Bombina maxima http://www.petpet.ne.jp/zukan/amphibia/29.jpg


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Matt Harris
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Posted: 09 Mar 2009 Topic: Wall Lizard Survey Methodology



[QUOTE=Vicar] Hi Alistair,Drop me an email using the link below. :P
[/QUOTE]

If you have an answer to the op question, why not post it on this forum - I'm sure there are others that would like to hear it. Or is it some sort of secret?


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Matt Harris
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Posted: 21 Jul 2003 Topic: Another toad found in Hackney



Try and find out who's releasing all these exotics and have a quiet word with them - they may not be aware that its illegal under the WCA1981.

Trying to breed them in a garden pond is counted as release in this context as it is virtually impossible to stop them escaping from the garden, and evidently, the owners have failed in this respect.

Incidentally, the law against release of exotics applies even if you caught the thing in the wild in the UK - if you let it go again, technically you are breaking the law. If you catch them, you need to keep them in captivity, or better still, don't catch it at all 'till you can find the owner.

We all like to se different types of herp in the "natural" state, but really if people want to see these things in the wild, they're better off going abroad.

One could argue that these handfuls of specimens are not doing any harm to native species in darkest Hackney, but the law is the law and it has to be applied, otherwise you're looking at the thin end of the wedge.


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Matt Harris
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Posted: 22 Jul 2003 Topic: Another toad found in Hackney



....that is exactly why I suggested having "a quiet word", rather than contacting the local Police Wildlife Liaison Officer.

The object of my posting was to remind the finder (of these aliens) of the law ű if they didnĂt know it already ű so that if they found who had released them, they could mention that itĂs really not such a good idea. IĂll know better than to offer advice where itĂs not wanted in the future.

I find the phrases "acting the policeman" and "waving a big stick" to be patronising and offensive to me. I work with wildlife law on a daily basis, and am well trained in the tact and diplomacy needed to encourage people to comply with wildlife law through an appreciation of the value of wildlife in terms of the environment and of our own quality of life; I have never had to recite the law to someoneĂs face, and would probably get a B*****ing if I did.

Many people simply arenĂt aware that it's not on to release these things, but there are ways and means of putting the importance of protecting our native spp. in a positive light ű as IĂm sure you know.

On a related note, here was a posting recently, which I have to say rubbed me up the wrong way, where a colleague seemed very proud of the fact that he had recited the law to someone who had threatened to kill a snake <<"Well ... " I said stoney faced, "All these snakes are protected species, did you know that? And you could find yourself receiving a rather large fine if you deliberately harm them, did you know that?".>>

No offence but this made him sound like a smart-arse and he comes across as being quite arrogant in this reply ű I only hope it came across better in real-life.

There werenĂt any comments about his "acting the policeman" and "waving a big stick" after that posting. We none of us like to see animals harmed, but encouraging people to not chop up reptiles while out on a walk is just as difficult as encouraging them to not release non-native herps.



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Matt Harris
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Posted: 22 Jul 2003 Topic: Another toad found in Hackney



I accept the comments above,

<<Certainly, in some cases, a reminder that these animals are actually legally protected may well be useful to demonstrate that it's not just a matter of you being a tree-hugging crank, but that your view actually has legal backing.>>

ThatĂs the message I was trying to get across.

<<Obviously, the "big stick" approach is unlikely to have much effect on joy-riding, glue-sniffing, heroin mainlining scum who just do it for kicks and are destined for a life in and out of jail anyway.>>

So now we know the sort of people you mix with Wolfgang!!


<<None of the species found are likely to form viable long-term populations in the area.>>

But then again, neither are RETs or American Bullfrogs. An extreme analogy I know, but looking at it objectively I feel that the overall tone of some of the postings is that these aliens are ˘interesting÷ and to be ˘enjoyed÷, rather than of concern. On the one hand itĂs true that these guys arenĂt going to go rampaging around the streets of Hackney, destroying all herps in their path (are there any in Hackney?!), but on the other hand I wouldnĂt want a casual observer of this forum to get the impression that we are happy to tolerate such releases.


<<..it sounds to me like you get "rubbed up the wrong way" faaar to easy.>>

Yes I probably do, where wildlife is involved!


<<The subject was Ash Berus , and if you follow all the threads you will see posts where I ask advice on how to deal with careless dogwalkers in an area with gravid berus. I had mentioned putting up signs etc etc .>>

Would it be worthwhile your leading a walk for local ramblers etc to explain a bit about adder natural history, whilst discreetly introducing the concept that they are protected? Adder/reptile talks round our way are usually well attended, and one guy had over 100 people on one walk!

BTW, I find the term ˘protected species÷ is one that is generally understood by most people, but is sufficiently nebulous as to be a lot less threatening than ˘WCA 1981 schedule 5 etc etc.÷



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Matt Harris
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Posted: 22 Jul 2003 Topic: Talk to them ? I did.



Something that still makes me chuckle from my zoo-keeping days was the feeling of animosity towards MO'S by the keepers. A lot thought he was a bit of a pratt the way he dives after stuff and acts up for the cameras, but I think it was mostly jealousy that he's rich and famous and they, er, aren't. If you offered your average keeper the money he earns for doing what he does, they'd bite your hand off, and who wouldn't?! "He knows a lot abot reptiles in the same way that a trainspotter knows a lot about trains" was one comment!

I've noticed on a few shows that some of the researchers he tags along with seemed a bit fed up with his antics, but then, it's all for the cameras.

BTW Steve Irwin holding on to everything by the tail - doesn't that damage them?




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Matt Harris
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Posted: 30 Jul 2003 Topic: Slow worm exposed basking



<<All the books tell us that slow worms are only rarely seen out in the open>>

Compared to how often the are found under tins/stones etc, I don't think that this is an unreasonable statement, but I suppose it boils down to your definition of "rarely"!

Slow-worms are mostly thigmothermic, but from what people say above maybe the females do bask a bit more in order to aid embryonic development?Matt Harris37832.6673726852


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Matt Harris
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Posted: 30 Jul 2003 Topic: Slow worm exposed basking



Looking over my records I've seen one male and three females "basking" this year


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Matt Harris
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Posted: 31 Jul 2003 Topic: Slow worm exposed basking



<<Has anyone compared the amount of snakes and slow-worms found under tins in the morning with the temperature of the air and ground at night. >>

I know Betty Platenberg recorded cloacal temperature and under-tin temperature with slow-worms and the grass snakes which were on her patch, but I think this was once a day, rather than at regular times throughout the day.


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