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Posted by W von Papinešu on September 18, 2002 at 10:26:35:
DAILY POST (Liverpool, UK) 17 September 02 Rare sand lizard to find sanctuary in the dunes
Britainís most endangered lizard is to find sanctuary in the sand dunes at Ainsdale beach as part of a national scheme to boost their numbers.
Sand lizard eggs have been successfully hatched at Chester Zoo, where five females and four males are kept in artificial dunes for breeding.
The lizards are now restricted to colonies along the Merseyside coast and Dorset.
The reptiles, which are on average six inches long, feed on small invertebrates like beetles, crickets and locusts. The females are brown and the males have a distinctive bright green stripe down each side.
They thrive in coastal areas but their numbers dwindled due to loss of habitat through tourism and commercial developments
The project, led by Herpetological Conservation Trust at English Nature, in partnership with Chester Zoo and local councils, will see lizards released at sites in North Wales and Lancashire, as well as at Ainsdale.
The first thirty lizards have been released in Berkshire.