The Irish Wildlife Trust is pleased to announce the launch of its Irish Lizard Survey, which has been sponsored by Dublin Zoo. After the success of the Irish Wildlife Trust National Newt Survey, this Irish environmental charity is now conducting a pilot lizard survey with a view to running a future “Citizens Science” survey of this little known Irish animal, the viviparous lizard.
The viviparous lizard (Zootoca vivipara) is Ireland’s only native species of reptile. This fascinating reptile gives birth to live young, a rarity in the reptile world, where most species lay eggs in order to reproduce. The lizard resides in areas such as bogs, coastal sites and uplands, is about 13cm long and hunts invertebrates like insects, spiders and snails.
The IWT survey aims to shed light on the distribution of this lizard in Ireland and so increase our understanding of Ireland’s wildlife. We also hope to survey our second reptile species, the non-native slow worm (Anguis fragilis). This is a legless lizard that was introduced into the Burren, Co. Clare in the 1970s and its current status is unknown. Species’ surveys are one of the IWT’s core activities along with education and campaigning. IWT chairperson Dr Daniel Buckley says “Wildlife monitoring through surveys such this is essential to ensure our precious wildlife is thriving in the modern Irish landscape, rather than being forced out of existence”.
This year’s survey aims to test lizard surveying techniques at a small number of locations before rolling the project out across the country in a volunteer–based citizen science capacity in the near future. To see how this year’s survey progresses keep an eye on the IWT website www.iwt.ie and Facebook page. For more information or to send in your lizard sighting contact the Trust on firstname.lastname@example.org.
We would like to thank the support of Dublin Zoo for supporting this initiative.