Sunday, 16 June 2013

Lizard numbers 'devastated' by arsonists in Belfast

A newly-discovered population of lizards has been "devastated" by arsonists setting fire to Cave Hill, according to the Belfast Hills Partnership.

The environmental group has been monitoring lizards at the wildlife site, known as the Limestone quarry, for several months.

They say many were lost when a fire began in the area last week.

The viviparous lizard is the only land reptile native to Ireland.

Small and brownish-grey in appearance, the species gives birth to young which have hatched from eggs inside the female.

Mountainous, coastal and bogland areas tend to report the highest numbers of sightings.

Belfast Hills Partnership manager Jim Bradley expressed dismay at the damage that was caused during the gorse fire on 5 June when a large plume of smoke could be seen on the hill and over north Belfast.

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