Common Lizard Habitat At Scrabo Gets An Upgrade

Scrabo Habitat Upgrade for Common Lizard

Scrabo Habitat Upgrade for Common Lizard

The Mayor of Ards and North Down, Councillor Karen Douglas, visited Scrabo Tower last week where local volunteers were working to upgrade the habitat for the local lizard population.

The Common Lizard is the only terrestrial reptile in the country and Scrabo has been identified as having an existing lizard population.

However, due to scrub encroachment, the usable habitat was slowly being lost so a programme of works was devised by the Strangford Lough and Lecale Partnership with the ‘Dragons in the Hills’ project.

Front: Judith Hassard (Newry and Mourne DC); Mayor of Ards and North Down Councillor Karen Douglas; Ryan Montgomery (Ecologist and Dragons in the Hills Project Officer). Back: Robin Haldane (National Trust); Aidan O’Kane (National Trust); Billy Hunter; Edel Trainor (ANDBC); Beth Fowler (Local volunteer); Linda Marshall; Jasper Gallagher (ANDBC).

The project has been funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund in partnership with the Amphibians and Reptiles Group (ARG) and the Strangford Lough and Lecale Partnership.

Over the course of two days, Council staff worked with National Trust, South Eastern Regional College (SERC) and local volunteers to upgrade the habitat.

The Mayor of Ards and North Down, Councillor Karen Douglas, said: “I am delighted that Ards and North Down provides a home for the country’s only native reptile.

A Common LIzard at Scrabo.

“The Common Lizard is classified as a priority protected species but there are only a few sites that are specifically managed for them.

“With that in mind, the work at Scrabo, which was a joint effort between Ards and North Down Borough Council, the National Trust’s Strangford team, the Strangford Lough and Lecale Partnership, Bangor SERC students and the Northern Ireland Environment Agency, is very worthwhile.”

Work carried out included the removal of gorse and bracken expose walls and rocks.

This has provided a more usable space for the lizards where they can bask in the sun, while a hibernaculum was created for them to overwinter in.

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