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South Gloucestershire is a great home for newts

This news article was published more than a year ago. Some of the information may no longer be accurate.

Published: 18/07/2013

Volunteers from local conservation groups and staff from South Gloucestershire Council’s community spaces team reviewed ten ponds in the district as part of a great crested newt survey training course led by Avon Wildlife Trust Ecological Consultancy.

The results of the surveys found the presence of newt species in six out of the ten ponds, and five ponds were found to hold populations of critically endangered great crested newts.

The ponds are managed by conservation groups in partnership with the council, and provide critical habitat for newts and other wildlife. Many other areas of the UK are struggling to maintain their newt populations, so the survey results are testament to the hard work taking place to conserve our natural habitats here in South Gloucestershire.

Chris Giles, Senior Landscape and Environmental Projects Officer at South Gloucestershire Council, said: “This is absolutely brilliant news and a fantastic tribute to the dedicated work undertaken by the volunteers over many years to improve management of the ponds and local open spaces for the benefit of both people and wildlife.”

Mary Wood, Senior Ecologist at Avon Wildlife Trust Ecological Consultancy, said: “It was inspiring to work with people who have shown so much initiative in improving their local area for wildlife. South Gloucestershire is a stronghold for the all too rare great crested newt and I’m confident that with the efforts of newly licensed local people in partnership with South Gloucestershire Council the future of this species in this area will be more secure.”

Following completion of their training, the outcomes of this year’s surveys and advice from Avon Wildlife Trust Consultancy, the conservation groups are keen to improve management of the ponds further to support and build newt populations which are key indicators of optimal pond health and biodiversity.

The surveys also highlighted the need to raise public awareness about the problems caused by releasing unwanted fish into ponds which eat newt larvae and other aquatic life with often devastating impacts. It was notable that the ponds with fish present had no newts and minimal aquatic invertebrates.

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