< > W79 - The Herpetological Conservation Trust - http://www.herpconstrust.org.uk

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Organisation Reference The Herpetological Conservation Trust
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This information has been taken directly from The Herpetological Conservation Trust Website.

The Herpetological Conservation Trust was founded in 1989 by Vincent Weir and Ian Swingland. Since our formation we have made significant steps forward to our primary aim of safeguarding Britain’s threatened herpetofauna (amphibians and reptiles). The Trust works towards this aim by:

protecting and improving through management the sites inhabited by threatened herpetofauna;

increasing the knowledge of way of life and habitat requirements of these species through research, education and by providing expert advice;

raising public awareness to stimulate interest and understanding about our amphibians and reptiles.

The HCT is a charitable trust (registered charity no. 801265), established and maintained by a generous endowment. This has allowed us to employ full time staff and to take on the management of a number of nature reserves. We are grateful for other grant aid and support, much from the statutory nature conservation bodies in the UK, which has meant that we have been able to continue and extend our conservation activities to benefit amphibians and reptiles. Reserve purchase has been made possible as a result of funding from the European Union’s Life Grant, the Worldwide Fund for Nature and the Heritage Lottery Fund .

The Trust is governed by a board of Officers and Trustees . We do not have a membership and so we are not an organisation that you can join. However, we do work with and assist other organisations to promote herpetofauna conservation, notably local Amphibian and Reptile Groups and County Wildlife Trusts that do have memberships. We are also often assisted by volunteers, particularly with habitat management projects.

The Trust’s initial focus was the management of habitat, acquiring tenure on sites through purchase, lease or other agreements. Much of our effort is directed to looking after our nature reserves (that is sites under our control), however we also undertake specific and sensitive management that is necessary to conserve amphibians and reptiles on sites managed by other people. Our particular focus has been on the lowland heaths of southern England. This is a particularly threatened habitat that is home to all native species of terrestrial reptile. We are also involved with the coordination of the conservation management of all known UK sites for the Natterjack Toad.

Our activities are not restricted to habitat management and our conservation programmes involve us in all aspects of conservation activity relating to the UK’s most threatened amphibians and reptiles. We are active supporters of the UK’s Biodiversity Action Plan and are Lead Partners for all of the published amphibian and reptile Species Action Plans. The Trust represents the interests of wildlife where development threatens them and is involved in both the development control and forward planning aspects. We are actively pursuing changes in legislation and in Government Policy to benefit our herpetofauna. The HCT develops and supports research projects that will lead to more effective reptile and amphibian conservation techniques, and provides both general and specific advice to a wide range of people to further the understanding of the conservation needs of these species. The HCT actively supports awareness and conservation efforts directed at the more widespread reptile and amphibian species, either directly or through its contacts with other herpetological organisations notably the local Amphibian and Reptile Groups and Froglife. The HCT is building co-operative working relationships with the leading conservation organisations in the UK including English Nature , The Countryside Council for Wales , the RSPB, Butterfly Conservation, the Bat Conservation Trust and PlantLife .

As we are UK based the focus of our work has, to date, undoubtedly been the UK. However, our remit and our influence extends much wider. The HCT is involved in herpetofauna conservation in Europe and beyond through involvement in developing action plans, developing policy and legislation and practical conservation efforts for endangered reptiles and amphibians. We are looking to further increase our involvement in the UK’s Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories by providing a UK based body to assist locally based action.

If you would like to contribute in some way towards the HCT's efforts to preserve an unappreciated but important part of our wildlife heritage, please contact:

Dates Referenced August 2001
Contact Details

655a Christchurch Road

Tel: 01202 391 319

Fax: 01202 392 785

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