Reptile conservation within the UK is currently facing a big challenge; the lack of data. To develop targeted and effective conservation strategies, it is essential to have sufficient data on the species you want to conserve. This presents a real problem for UK reptiles, as there is very little public data available. However, we can remedy this if more people are aware of our wonderful native reptiles, any and all sightings are recorded, and survey effort is increased across the UK.
Every single reptile sighting, whether it is a one-off chance encounter or a planned survey, provides a valuable data point. So, how can you turn your wildlife encounter into useable data? Well, we’ve made it quick and easy for you with our free Froglife Dragon Finder App! Whenever you spot a reptile (or amphibian!), simply record your sighting on the app there and then.
If you are not sure you can ID the animal in front of you, not to worry. The app is full of information and ID tips to help. You can also select ‘Identify Species’ on the home page and you will be led through a series of questions to a final species ID. Download the app today for free, or find out more about it here! If you’re still unsure, try to take a photo or make a note of the animal’s appearance, and send this to firstname.lastname@example.org. Mirran is the Discovering Reptiles Project Officer, and she can help you identify any reptile sightings.
Citizen science is a key tool for collecting data and building the scientific knowledge needed to develop conservation strategies. For reptiles, citizen science has huge potential to make a real difference moving forward. If you know there are species in your garden, allotment or local green space, go find them and record your sightings! If you’d like to go a step further, we desperately need more people undertaking reptile surveys across the UK. These are straightforward to do and you can commit as much or little time as you have. To learn more about how to survey for reptiles, see our handy online guide here.
We can all do our bit to protect the UK’s native reptiles, and the Dragon Finder App has made it easier than ever to contribute! All sightings recorded on the Dragon Finder App will help us to build a more accurate picture of reptiles in the UK and develop appropriate conservation priorities. All recordings uploaded onto our app are also sent to the National Biodiversity Network and are publicly available.