Species we conserve

Three species AWT conserves are the dartford warbler, the slow worm and the ormer.

The dartford warbler is a species that had a population crash to only a few pair in the UK in the 60s and has since begun to recover after careful restoration. It is now amber listed by the RSPB, so it is recovering quite well in the UK. The warblers breed in lowland heath (in gorse and heather), which is a habitat that requires a lot of management.
In Alderney we look after our heath by removing backen and other plants which can take over from the heather and leaving some of the large gorse bushes. We have a few pairs in Alderney which often successfully breed as there is limited disturbance here. The main way we conserve the dartford warblers is by managing their heath habitat on the cliffs.

Another species we conserve is the slow worm. They are not well named as they can move very quickly when they want to and they are not a worm, but more closely related to lizards (they have no legs). Slow worms eat insects and also live on heathland, grassland and woodland - anywhere they can find a spot to sunbathe in. They like compost heaps and can be seen in gardens. To help our slow worms we leave long verges for cover where we know they are found and leave sheets of corrugated iron out which they like to sunbathe and warm up underneath.

Slow worms are declining becuase they eat garden insects, especially slugs, which gardeners often poison with pellets therefore harming the slow worms. They can also be brought in by cats and dogs. We conserve them by protecting their habitat, advising on gardening for wildlife and providing man made additions for them.

The Green Ormer is in decline worldwide as is has been over harvested by people and is now red listed by the IUCN - it is regarded as a delicacy in many countries. The Channel Islands are in the far north of their range but they have also been over harvested here, with a very sharp decrease in their numbers. There are a few small populations around the coast here, but people can still take them to eat once they reach a certain size.
We conserve the ormers by monitoring their populations and promting information about the correct size to take them and how the public can help them.

By | 2017-07-11T11:07:46+00:00 July 11th, 2017|The Daily Digest, The Daily Digest 2017|0 Comments

About the Author:

Claire Thorpe - AWT
Claire studied biology at the University of Oxford, graduating in 2013. Her main focus became the ecology modules, leading to a dissertation on the effects non-native tree species can have on biodiversity. A year off included volunteering for the Wildlife Trust in the Scilly Isles and teaching English in China. Claire then completed her MSc in Conservation at UCL. Her thesis looked at the policy and objectives surrounding a marine protected area in Jamaica, and research involved interviews with politicians, researchers and community members. Post-graduation Claire worked for a natural health charity as their campaign coordinator, gaining experience in article writing, social media and communications.

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