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Student conservationists leap into action

Published: August 31, 2016

The Cornwall College Group eden research

The amphibian and reptile populations of The Eden Project have been offered a helping hand by a group of local conservationists.

Following a reported sighting of toads getting stuck in drains from a visitor to the Eden Project, help was drafted in to tackle the issue. The Student Invasive Non-Native Group (SINNG), based at Cornwall College Newquay, teamed up with Cornwall Reptile & Amphibian Group (CRAG) to come up with a solution alongside Eden staff.

Nicola Morris is the SINNG Project Coordinator at Cornwall College Newquay and is also a county recorder for CRAG, she said: “After speaking with staff at the Eden Project, we agreed to a one-year trial to install and monitor gully pot mesh and ladders which allow amphibians and small mammals to escape from the gully pots if they fall in. We sought advice from British Herpetological Society Secretary Trevor Rose and Barry Kemp from the Sussex Amphibian and Reptile Group, and we were able to purchase mesh and ladders with financial support from the Eden Project.”

Nicola worked alongside staff at Eden to identify which gully pots to put the ladders and mesh in and students and staff from Cornwall College Newquay alongside CRAG volunteer Chris White then installed ladders and mesh into 10 gully pots. Happily, since installation, there have been no reports of amphibians, reptiles or mammals becoming trapped in the gully pots.

Chris White from Cornwall Reptile & Amphibian Group, volunteered on the project. Chris said: “CRAG are always concerned with the welfare of reptiles and amphibians, which can be easily overlooked in favour of other animals. A problem was identified at the Eden Project and in conjunction with the students at Cornwall College Newquay, we were given an opportunity to try and correct this, by the installation of amphibian ladders and Enkamat mesh. The Eden Project kindly gave us a budget which allowed us to requisition the necessary materials, and we were able to complete the task. We hope that the problems there will now be greatly reduced, and this will be monitored over the coming months. The problems here are only a fraction of what happens in Cornwall, and we would appeal to the public at large to contact CRAG via our website if they witness similar problems throughout the county.”

For more information on the range of Wildlife and Conservation courses available across the Cornwall College Group visit www.cornwall.ac.uk or call 0845 22 32 567.

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