Barriers for conservation: mitigating the impact on amphibians and reptiles by water cisterns in arid environments

  • Published source details Pleguezuelos J.M., García-Cardenete L., Caro J., Feriche M., Pérez-García M.T., Santos X., Sicilia M. & Fahd S. (2017) Barriers for conservation: mitigating the impact on amphibians and reptiles by water cisterns in arid environments. Amphibia-Reptilia, 38, 113-118.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Prevent access to livestock water feeders

Action Link
Reptile Conservation
  1. Prevent access to livestock water feeders

    A replicated, randomized, controlled, before-and-after study in 2014–2016 in three areas of desert shrub and grassland in south-western Morocco (Pleguezuelos et al. 2017) found that adding mesh covers to ground-level livestock water feeders resulted in fewer reptiles and amphibians being trapped. Ground-level water feeders with in and outflow openings covered by wire mesh trapped fewer reptiles and amphibians (17% of feeders; 0.3 individuals trapped/feeder) compared to water feeders without wire mesh covers attached (36% of feeders; 0.8 individuals trapped/feeder). Before mesh covers were attached, numbers of reptiles and amphibian species trapped were similar amongst all feeders located in the same areas (see original paper for details). Rectangular concrete, roofed, ground-level water feeders (‘cisterns’, all <15 years old) designed to capture rainwater for livestock were surveyed in three zones (168–212 km2) in the north-western Sahara Desert (24 feeders/zone). Water inlet and overflow openings were covered with wire mesh on 12 randomly selected feeders/zone. All feeders were surveyed for reptiles and amphibians once before mesh was applied in November 2014 (zones 1 and 2) or October 2015 (zone 3) and again either four times in June 2015–April 2016 (zones 1 and 2) or twice in March–April 2016 (zone 3). All dead and live reptiles and amphibians found inside feeders were recorded.

    (Summarised by: Katie Sainsbury)

Output references
What Works 2021 cover

What Works in Conservation

What Works in Conservation provides expert assessments of the effectiveness of actions, based on summarised evidence, in synopses. Subjects covered so far include amphibians, birds, mammals, forests, peatland and control of freshwater invasive species. More are in progress.

More about What Works in Conservation

Download free PDF or purchase
The Conservation Evidence Journal

The Conservation Evidence Journal

An online, free to publish in, open-access journal publishing results from research and projects that test the effectiveness of conservation actions.

Read the latest volume: Volume 21

Go to the CE Journal

Discover more on our blog

Our blog contains the latest news and updates from the Conservation Evidence team, the Conservation Evidence Journal, and our global partners in evidence-based conservation.

Who uses Conservation Evidence?

Meet some of the evidence champions

Endangered Landscape ProgrammeRed List Champion - Arc Kent Wildlife Trust The Rufford Foundation Save the Frogs - Ghana Mauritian Wildlife Supporting Conservation Leaders
Sustainability Dashboard National Biodiversity Network Frog Life The international journey of Conservation - Oryx Cool Farm Alliance UNEP AWFA Bat Conservation InternationalPeople trust for endangered species Vincet Wildlife Trust