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Endangered grass snake comes under scrutiny

03 February 2014

The grass snake is being discussed by wildlife experts at a public conference on local amphibians and reptiles being held in Jersey this Saturday (8 February 2014).

The day-long annual conference focuses on a different species or issue each year. This year the grass snake – the UK’s largest reptile and the only snake to lay eggs, will be discussed at talks, workshops and training sessions.

The event, which is jointly organised by the Jersey Amphibian and Reptile Group (JARG) and the Department of the Environment, is open to anyone who is interested in learning more about amphibians and reptiles and in getting involved in wildlife recording and conservation.

Spotting grass snakes

Amphibians and reptiles are important indicators of local environmental health and Jersey’s grass snake is close to extinction. Jersey has an international commitment to conserving biodiversity as a signatory to the Convention on Biological Diversity.

Among the information that delegates learn is how to find grass snakes when conducting surveys; the more data collected, the better the information on which to judge future trends and to take any necessary action to conserve the species for the future.

Study into Jersey's grass snakes

A three-year study into Jersey's grass snakes and slow-worms is being conducted through a joint programme by Department of the Environment and the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology. The scientist carrying out the study will be speaking at the conference.

States of Jersey Research Ecologist Nina Cornish said “It is fantastic to be part of a new three-year study. Grass snakes are Jersey’s rarest reptile and we hope to halt their extinction and conserve for future generations.”

Partnership project

During the afternoon of the conference, the focus will be on Jersey’s National Amphibian and Reptile Recording Scheme. The partnership project has been running in Jersey for six years, led by the UK’s Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Group.

JARG is an informal group of organisations and individuals that work together for the benefit of species and habitats under threat or which need special attention.

The event is at Durrell Conservation Academy from 9.30am to 3.30pm. Spaces can be reserved by contacting Nina Cornish on +44 (0)1534 441624 or by email.

Email Nina Cornish

Jersey’s National Amphibian and Reptile Recording Scheme on the National Amphibian and Reptile Recording Scheme website

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