After a successful breeding programme at Chester Zoo, rare Sand Lizards have been released back into the wild.
There were 27 reptiles reared at Chester Zoo which have now been reintroduced into their natural habitats in the glorious Talacre Dunes.
Gradual destruction of the Sand Lizards habitats led to declining numbers of the species within areas of England and Wales, however recent conservation efforts across the UK look to stop this decline with over 400 lizards expected to be released into the wild in the coming weeks.
Chester Zoo’s specialist keeper Isolde McGeorge said: “It’s great to be able to play our part and help release these animals back into their natural habitat. It is habitat loss that has led to dwindling numbers of these important species and to see them back where they belong is very rewarding. The release of the lizards is the culmination of a lot of hard work and very successful breeding and reintroduction programmes, and we hope eventually they will begin to colonise new areas themselves.”
Sand Lizards are regarded as threatened and the species is strictly protected under UK law as part of conservation efforts. They are particularly rare and are only found in the sand dunes of the North West and areas of the southern heathland.
The sand dunes located in Talacre are of significant importance to the ecological balance of the area. It is home to a diverse selection of species including the rare NatterJack Toad and the rare Sand Lizards.
Furthermore Talacre Sand Dunes are also popular with bird watchers, with the beach offering the possibility of seeing migrating Leach’s Petrel, Kittiwakes and Terns.
Fun Fact File
- Scientific Name: Lacerta Agilis
- Diet: Spiders, Insects, Grasshoppers
- Life Span: 5 – 8 years
- Size: 13cm – 20cm
- Favourite Hobby: Long walks along the beach
- Nickname: Rango, Thin Lizzy
Photo Credit: Karol Nicinski