Thursday, 10 September 2015

Nature notes: Where have our newts gone?

Once a common sight throughout Britain, the great crested newt has now been listed as a protected species in the UK due to their gradual demise

Great crested newt Photo: Alamy

6:53PM BST 10 Sep 2015

The great crested newt has been made a protected species in the UK and Europe after a loss of habitat has led to a gradual disappearance of a once common amphibian.

According to Freshwater Habitats Trust, there were around one million ponds in the UK a century ago. That figure has dropped to approximately 478,000.

Ponds are ideal breeding grounds, but over the years have been replaced with piped water supply and livestock drinking troughs. The newt’s land habitat, patches of grassland and woodland, are also in decline due to development and habitat fragmentation.

The trust is embarking on an environmental study to reveal how many newts there are in the UK. Researchers will test the DNA in the water to monitor the freshwater species that live there to develop their work to protect the newt.

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