Dragon Finder is an initiative aimed at spreading the word about amphibian and reptile conservation. It brings together practical conservation, surveying, data collection and interactive educational activities and now everyone can be involved by downloading a free app to help with the research.
The project is being run by Froglife, the UK’s leading wildlife charity for the conservation of amphibians and reptiles which is dedicated to saving the habitats of native frogs, toads, newts, snakes and lizards. The Scottish Dragon Finder Project launched in 2014 and will run into 2018. The project, based at Stirling University Innovation Park, aims to reach as many people as possible of all ages across Scotland with numerous events and activities planned which will give local people the chance to find out more about wildlife in Scotland and spread the word of amphibian and reptile conservation.
One of the project’s key aims is to improve data recording for amphibians and reptiles, particularly in remote areas of Scotland. Froglife Project Officer James Stead said: “Scotland is a special place full of beauty and home to some amazing amphibian and reptile species, from the great crested newt and natterjack toad to the slow-worm and adder. These species sadly all suffer from loss of habitat through drainage and development, degradation of habitat quality through neglect and pollution, spread of disease and the spread of non-native species. Very little is known about the abundance and distribution of amphibians and reptiles in the wilds of Scotland as these species are highly under-recorded in the hills. This comes mostly down to issues relating to accessibility and logistics.”
The charity is urging Scots, particularly hill walkers, to participate in species recording during their walks to increase records in remote areas. Anyone can take part in data collection by downloading Froglife’s free Dragon Finder app which allows users to identify reptiles and amphibians and report a sighting.
Froglife will also be hosting both outdoor events (where you can get involved in pond-dipping and reptile rummages) and indoor events (including amphibian craft exercises and Dragon Finder activities) this summer across Scotland. To find an event near you click here.
Froglife’s Scottish Dragon Finder project is a 4.5 year project funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.