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Page last updated at 15:53 GMT, Monday, 6 September 2010 16:53 UK
Rare sand lizards released on Sefton coast
sand lizard
The sand lizard is the rarest lizard in the UK.

A new generation of rare sand lizards have been released into the wild by conservationists in Sefton.

The juvenile lizards, which have been bred in captivity, have been introduced in to the Freshfield Dune Heath due to a fall in numbers in recent years.

UK sand lizards only live in sand dunes and lowland heath and although numbers remain healthy on the Sefton dunes the amount on heathland has fallen.

The 34 lizards were released at the Freshfield Dune Heath Nature Reserve.

Merseyside sand lizards have a unique make-up and the juveniles have been bred from local lizards by Amphibian and Reptile Conservation.

400 lizards have been released across England and Wales.

The lizards have to be released in September so they can get used to their new surroundings before hibernation in October.

Fiona Whitfield of the Lancashire Wildlife Trust said "We are excited at the arrival of a new species for the reserve and to be a part of these important local and national projects.

There is a large population of Common Lizards on Freshfield Dune Heath so we are confident that the Sand Lizards will thrive here."

The release at Freshfield is one of 19 projects within the Sefton Coast Landscape Partnership Scheme.




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