Hampshire is fortunate that the county covers a huge geographic area and a very diverse breadth of habitat including: the Isle of Wight, the New Forest National Park, the South Downs National Park, as well as many other unspoiled areas, including Woolmer Forest.
It is therefore unsurprising that we are host to 12 out of the 13 native amphibians and reptiles in UK, including rarities such as the Natterjack Toad, Sand Lizard and Smooth Snake, and wherever you live in the county there will be opportunities to survey and monitor an assemblage of amphibian and reptile species.
HIWARG formed in the Autumn of 2018 and is an affiliated independent ARG-UK group. The group focus is conservation of native UK species essentially around habitat management, surveying, public engagement, volunteer training & doing as much as possible to understand & protect the native species in the county.
All members are volunteers with a common interest.
If you have some spare time and would like to be involved with HIWARG, maybe you have taken a photo of a reptile or amphibian and would like it identified or maybe you have some other query, then please do get in contact firstname.lastname@example.org
CONSERVATION THROUGH EMPATHY BY ENGAGEMENT
We have a few diary dates coming up. Necessarily these are all online, in these COVID-19 times - but we are hoping that with the vaccine coming on stream that we will all be able to get out and about later in the spring and do some practical conservation.
The first of these on 28th January at 7:30 pm is a relaunch of London ARG. We know that many of you are far from London, but if you have a friend or other connection there that might enjoy getting involved, please do pass on the details. We've had quite a lot of interest so are hoping that this new push will get LondonARG up and running again.
The second diary date is the 2021 Herpetofauna Workers Meeting on Sat-Sun 6-7 February. We've stayed with the weekend format, and once again are offering a mixture of presentations and workshops. We are sorry to be missing out on some of the social networking, although there will still be our world famous quiz #HIGNFY - but this is a good compromise given the restrictions we are facing, and is a great opportunity to catch up on the latest news and research, and hopefully feel inspired for the new amphibian and reptile season. The event is hosted on the ARC website - and they will be able to answer any further organisational questions.
To register for the event please follow the link to the ARC Trust website: https://www.arc-trust.org/Event/hwm2021
The third date is our ARG UK AGM. Again, given the restrictions we've opted for an online format - and rather than trying to squeeze it into the HWM, are having it as a stand alone event on Thursday 18th February from 7:15 pm. Free to all of our affiliated ARGS and their members (plus any potential ARG members), we are making the most of the geographical freedom offered by Zoom to hear from some of our ARGs and other friends from all over UK and Ireland including: Sheila Dyason (Dorset – DARN), Suzie Collinson (Cumbria - CARG ), Kevin Clarke (Nottinghamshire ARG), Erik Paterson (ClydeARG), Trevor Rose (Friends of Angus Herpetofauna & British Herpetological Society), Rob Gandola (Herpetological Society of Ireland), Ryan Boyle (Northern Ireland ARG), Matt Legg (NW Wales ARG) and Pembrokeshire ARG.
We will be hearing more about: monitoring slow-worms in churchyards, finding adders in Pembrokeshire, digging ponds in NW Wales, restoring wetlands in Ireland, a photographic calendar competition, conserving amphibians in Scotland, ambitious plans for installing amphibian escape ladders, TikTok tadpoles in Northern Ireland, and making grass snake egg laying heaps in Nottinghamshire - plus a rather fabulous video. So please do come along, be inspired, share your news and views and have a say in how we coordinate our fantastic network of volunteer amphibian and reptile groups.
To sign up follow the link to eventbrite https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/arg-uk-2021-annual-general-meeting-agm-with-arg-updates-tickets-135964909705?fbclid=IwAR2myNJrnL7Qe26K9HBVs8ccv91eAikRUtoDq5BUMXUjgiqXGwfDqsdsReg
The last one of ARG UK's Autumn Seminar Series on Thursday 10th December, when we will be hearing from some ARGs about what they've been doing during the year. This seminar has been evolving as more ARG speakers have come forward! So welcome to 'ARG projects - ice age ponds, moving cycleways and finding adders!' Introduced by ARG UK Chair of Trustees, Chris Monk (Derbyshire ARG), we will hear from Will Watson (Herefordshire Amphibian and Reptile Team - HART), about the new National Lottery funded 'Ice Age Pond Project' which aims to map the biodiversity and geology of the ancient and unique glacial kettle-hole ponds in Herefordshire. Then we will hear from Stephen Green of Cornwall College, and Cornwall Reptile and Amphibian Group (CRAG), who will be telling us how they moved the route of a proposed cycle path to save their local reptiles. And finally we will be hearing from Ben Rigsby and Harry Searle-Webb of GlosARG and ARAG who will be telling us more about how they used their field craft experiences to find new and unexpected adder sites in South Gloucestershire. Presentations will be followed by a general discussion with an opportunity for participants to ask questions or raise other points. (Images copyright Herefordshire Wildlife Trust and Harry Searle-Webb).
To sign up please follow the link: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/arg-uk-autumn-seminar-series-args-end-of-year-get-together-tickets-117011515593?fbclid=IwAR3Mo6g8rpDmPFGwpycgc42HvxHuCg_AVHJ01kNgq1WLQbuntyKH5QiFlEE
In the world of nature conservation, the potentially devastating effect of invasive species on native ecosystems is a constant topic of discussion. There has been much recent discussion around the post-Brexit nature and biodiversity strategy, including EU Regulation 1143/2014 - on Invasive Alien Species (IAS) - which came into force on 1st January 2015. It has yet to be clarified how the list of Invasive Alien Species of Union concern, which is central to this Regulation, will be updated and administered when the UK leaves the EU.
Further restrictions may be applied on keeping, selling, breeding and growing, which may result in many reptile breeders being forced to keep their animals for life, rather than give them away or sell them. Consequently, this has the potential to result in many animals being abandoned into the wild. To address some of these concerns, Hadlow College have launched a citizen science project, in association with the British Herpetological Society (BHS), to collect data from the general public on introduced turtle and terrapin species in the UK.
More information on the Turtle Tally and a link to the survey can be found at https://www.hadlow.ac.uk/turtletally
Thu, 12 November 2020 19:30 – 21:00 GMT
Focusing on the novel form of chytrid, Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans (Bsal). Presented by Alice Pawlik (Trustee, ARG UK), the seminar will open with an overview of the current status of amphibian diseases in the UK, from Joseph Heaver at the Institute of Zoology (ZSL)based on findings from the Garden Wildlife Health programme.
We will then focus more closely on the epidemiology of Bsal, a new form of chytrid that has virtually extirpated wild fire salamanders from parts of continental Europe, and may pose a threat to some of our native newts should it enter wild populations in UK.
We will be hearing from Annamarieke Spitzen (RAVON), and Stefano Canessa (Wildlife Health Ghent), who will discuss the difficulties of responding to, and managing an aggressive amphibian disease in the light of experiences from Southern Europe. Presentations will be followed by a panel discussion with an opportunity for participants to ask questions or raise other points. (Images copyright Sam Kelly and Steve Allain).
Please note this is an online event powered by Zoom. With thanks to The Garfield Weston Foundation, who have kindly sponsored our evening on Amphibian Diseases.
Simply click here to register: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/arg-uk-autumn-seminar-series-amphibian-diseases-tickets-113833426844
If you've ever wanted to cuddle up to an adder, but don't fancy all the bitey stuff, pop over to the new and sparkly HIWARG Redbubble shop and buy one of the adder design cushions. While you are there, check out the different designs and the oodles of goodies for personal treats or for Christmas and birthday presents. Don't forget to share with friends and families as well.
Visit the shop at http://www.redbubble.com/people/hiwarg/portfolio
Next Thursday, 29 July, we have been invited to join Natural England and Forestry England on their Heath week activity at Bramshill SSSI
We will have a stall there to talk to visitors about herps in the area and it will be a great chance to engage with walkers and other users of the site.
If anyone is free to help us set up our gazebo between 8am-8.30am that would be great. The event is advertised as 9am to 3pm, so if anyone is free and would like to help on the stall, or just stop by and chat it would be good to see you.
Meeting place is at Bramshill Common Wood Car Park, Bramshill Rd, Hook RG27 0PR (Grid ref SU 76053 61310). It is only a small car park, so if its full there is more parking about 500m east along Bramshill Road. The stall will be sited next to the car park.
Both Natural England and Forestry England will be running their own activities, with FE leading guided walks.