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Volunteers wanted to record amphibian recordings in Cairngorms National Park

6th April 2009

Wildlife enthusiasts who don’t mind getting their hands dirty are being invited to play a valuable role for the Cairngorms Local Biodiversity Action Plan (LBAP). Their assistance is required to help increase knowledge about the frogs, toads and newts that live in the Park.

Cairngorms Biodiversity Officer Stephen Corcoran said: “They spend most of the year in terrestrial habitats but they go to ponds to spawn in March and April.

“This is a key time to see them and we would be grateful if people could take a close look and tell us how many there are in the National Park.”

One third of amphibians worldwide are thought to be threatened with extinction because of disease and habitat loss. In the UK two diseases have recently appeared from abroad that could have serious implications for our native amphibians: the Ranavirus, also called ‘red-leg’, and a fungal infection (chytridiomycosis). Neither of these have been reported in the Cairngorms but any reports of likely diseased frogs, toads and newts is vital as it can help to monitor the spread and impact of these diseases.

The Common frog, Common toad and Palmate newt can generally be seen across the Park but the Smooth newt and Great crested newt are much rarer and so far are only recorded from one location in Strathspey. Other sites for these rarer species may be out there waiting to be found.

He said: “I hope as many people as possible will record what they see. There are a number of national initiatives that volunteers can get involved in and training is taking place across Scotland. However, people should avoid moving or collecting amphibians because this can help prevent the spread of diseases.”

Anyone who sees one of these amphibians should fill out the form on the back of an ‘Amphibians of the Cairngorms’ leaflet published by the CNPA or reported to Mr Corcoran on 01479 870528 or by email at [email protected] , or the Cairngorms Biological Records Centre.

They can also get involved by registering on the website of the National Amphibian and Reptile Recording Scheme or take part in the new Reptiles and Amphibians in your Garden initiative.