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Campaign to protect grass snakes

22 July 2014

Jersey’s only native snake is the focus of a new campaign which aims to save it from extinction. Our Island’s rarest reptile, the non-venomous and harmless grass snake is threatened with extinction unless steps are taken to conserve the species.

The ‘Think Grass Snake’ campaign is launched this week by the Department of the Environment together with a number of partners. It aims to raise awareness of the grass snake and to persuade people to report their sightings of snakes and slow-worms. This data will be used in a study, with the ultimate aim of halting the decline of these native reptiles.

There is a campaign website which has a quick, online survey people can submit any sightings to. The site also provides facts and resources about amphibian and reptiles and how to encourage them. There is also a dedicated telephone line for people to call if they see a grass snake.

The campaign will initially be focused on the western side of the island and will be rolled out to other parishes next year.

The campaign, which is funded by a number of companies, charities and not for profit organisations, is led by doctoral student Rob Ward who is studying for a PhD on Jersey’s grass snakes and slow-worms with the University of Kent.

He said: “I’m very keen to hear from the public and learn about any of their sightings or encounters with both grass snakes and slow-worms.

“My main aim is to determine how many grass snakes are left in the Island, where they are, why Jersey’s grass snakes are so rare, and what we can do to improve their conservation status locally.

“If by raising awareness we can help people understand what to look for and then to share their information, this will make a real contribution to the protection of grass snakes.”

The Department of the Environment is appealing for help from the public to assist Mr Ward, so he can build a clearer picture of where grass snakes and slow-worms live and how to protect them.

Islanders who spot a grass snake can contact the spotline on +44 (0)1534 441628.

Think grass snake website

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