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Help is at hand for rare great crested newts whose pond is in danger of partly drying out on the Forestry Commission estate at Clumber Park, North Notts.
The creature is the largest and rarest of the three native newt species found in the British Isles and enjoys the highest level of conservation protection, being one of 22 animals and plants on the European Protected Species list.
Now forest workers are set to remove large swathes of overgrown soft rush, which is sucking up the moisture from parts of the pond.
The work will take about a week to complete and has to be done in the winter when the newts are largely absent from the pond, hibernating in crevices and under logs. Young newts, which haven’t lost their gills, may still be in the water, but they will be undisturbed because clearance operations will be restricted to parts of the pond which have begun to dry out.
Adrienne Bennett, Ecology and Biodiversity Officer with the Forestry Commission, said:
“When the newts rouse from their slumber for the breeding season, they will find a much improved habitat. This is the only known site for the species on our estate in Nottinghamshire, which underlines its importance. Last summer a survey identified 26 newts in the pond, but what makes the site doubly important is that this is a known breeding site. Newts tend to stick to the same pond during their life so this work is crucial for their long-term future.”
Great crested newts can live as long as 27 years, although up to 10 years is more usual. Since the 1940s, the population has slumped due to habitat loss.
NOTE TO EDITOR
Forestry Commission England is the government department responsible for protecting, expanding and promoting the sustainable management of woods and forests and increasing their value to society and the environment. Forestry makes a real contribution to sustainable development, providing social and environmental benefits arising from planting and managing attractive, as well as productive, woodlands. To find out more got to www.forestry.gov.uk/EastMidlands
Richard Darn on 0775 367 0038 / 01226 246351