6th Aug 2013

Today Amphibian and Reptile Conservation (ARC) is launching a newScottish Project, with an appeal for sightings of frogs, toads, newts, snakes or lizards. Scotland may be an important refuge for species such as the common toad and the adder, which are declining rapidly elsewhere in the UK. The recent “The State of Nature” report, led by the RSPB and backed by Sir David Attenborough, found that around 60% of animal and plant species in the UK are in trouble. But more information is urgently needed on Scottish amphibians and reptiles.

Joan McAlpine MSP, Species Champion for the Adder in Scotland, is keen to see work done to protect this species: "Adders have a huge cultural significance. The south of Scotland - the area that I represent - is an important area for them. Their presence usually indicates a healthy ecosystem but anecdotal evidence suggests they are in decline as a result of habitat fragmentation. I would like to see more research on adders in Scotland and more positive work with rural industries, particularly our forestry industry, which has a key role in ensuring the survival of this beautiful reptile.”

If you have recently seen a reptile or amphibian in the wild, please help by recording your sightings at: www.recordpool.org.uk . ARC will use this information to make a new, up-to-date Scottish Amphibian and Reptile Atlas. Recorders will be able to see their sightings online and the data will be used to help prioritise conservation work across Scotland.

ARC’s Scottish Project Officer Dr Pete Minting is busy creating opportunities for people to get involved in amphibian and reptile conservation. Volunteers are needed at many sites in Scotland. Why not combine a day’s volunteering with the chance to see some amazing wildlife? According to Pete: “Nothing beats the look on someone’s face when they first see a wild adder or hear a natterjack toad calling - it can be a life-changing experience!” ARC is also developing plans for Citizen Science projects and training events for volunteers. ARC collaborates closely with volunteers from the Amphibian and Reptile Group (ARG) network, which plays a vital role in conservation work. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact [email protected]

Funding for the three-year Scottish Project was secured from Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) in 2013 and it is being launched as part of the government’s ‘Year of Natural Scotland’ campaign. According to John McKinnell, Policy and Advice Officer at SNH: “It is good to support this project, which will encourage the public to make a real contribution to the study and conservation of a relatively neglected part of Scotland's nature. It is good that the project aims to increase our knowledge of all of our native amphibians and reptiles, not just the ones we already know are rare."

To find out more visit our Scottish Project page!