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Last Updated: Thursday September 03 2009 07:02 GMT

Hundreds of rare lizards released

Sand lizard

Hundreds of rare lizards are being released in England and Wales to try to bring them back in areas where they had disappeared.

The sand lizards are being reintroduced at five places in Surrey, Dorset and mid-Wales.

They have been harmed by destruction of their habitat - sandy-soiled heathland.

About 400 of the creatures are being set loose over the next two weeks, the Amphibian and Reptile Conservation group (Arc) said.

Lots of Britain's frogs, toads, newts lizards and snakes have been hit by changes in the places they live.

The lizards prefer to live in heathland, which doesn't have many trees.

But Arc says the creatures and their habitat are now protected by law.

Nick Moulton, of Arc, said: "It's great to see them going back, now safely protected, where they belong."