Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Successful rapid response to an accidental introduction of non-native lizards Podarcis siculus in Buckinghamshire, UK

Published source details

Hodgkins J., Davis C. & Foster J. (2012) Successful rapid response to an accidental introduction of non-native lizards Podarcis siculus in Buckinghamshire, UK. Conservation Evidence, 9, 63-66

Summary

Italian wall lizards Podarcis siculus campestris were accidentally introduced to a site in Buckinghamshire, UK with a consignment of stone originating in Italy. Many populations of this lizard and closely related species have been established outside their native range, sometimes from a small number of founders. Mindful of the potential for these lizards to establish in the UK, we decided on a “rapid response” intervention. We captured four lizards, including a gravid female, and removed them to a secure captive collection. The capture operation comprised two visits, with specialist advice assisting estate management and nature conservation staff. Vegetation around the stone was cut back to dissuade dispersal in an effort to contain any remaining lizards. The imported stone and surrounding area were placed under surveillance, and no further lizards were found over the course of two years. Good communications between landowners, a government agency and reptile specialists expedited this intervention. We conclude that this simple, low-effort example of rapid response has eliminated the risk of a non-native invasive species establishing.