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Saturday, 01 November 2014

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Windfall for natterjack toads

CUMBRIA’S natterjack toads are one of the North West’s most threatened species and are in line for a cash windfall.

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HELP AT HAND: A new fund as been launched which will help natterjack toads Terry Kane

Money given by Natural England under a previous Countdown 2010 scheme paid for improvements at six important sites for natterjack toads, including Barrow.

In addition 16 extra sites in Cumbria have been designated as County Wildlife sites.

Liz Newton, regional director for Natural England in the North West said: “Our estuaries and coasts, uplands and wetlands are of international importance and are already enjoyed by millions of residents and visitors. But there is no room for complacency, many challenges, from development pressures, pollution to overgrazing of our uplands and habitat fragmentation in the lowlands, need to be tackled if we are to conserve and enhance our natural heritage.

“This new funding will help us to work with partners across the North West to deliver practical projects on the ground that will not only bring benefits to wildlife and habitats but will bring nature into people’s lives, help support tourism and enhance the quality of life and the image of our

region.” In Cumbria Natural England has paid for vital work to preserve the natterjack toad population, which has declined by 75 per cent across the UK over the last century.

Currently, around half of England’s remaining population occur along the Cumbrian coast in increasingly isolated pockets where they are confined to the coastal strip.

They breed in ponds in sand dunes and pools on salt marshes and loss of habitat is the main threat to natterjack toads.

The Herpetological Conservation Trust employed a project officer to develop a strategy for natterjacks to safeguard this species in Cumbria.

All grants will be made for three years from 2008 to the end of March 2011.

Grants will be awarded for a minimum of £25,000 and a maximum of £250,000 in each of the three years.

Further details and an application form can be found on the Natural England website http://www.naturalengland.org.uk

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