PhD title: Assessing the ecological impacts of non-native gamebird release on reptiles in the UK.
Britain has a long history of releasing gamebirds into the countryside for the shoot. The number of gamebirds released on shooting estates has been increasing since 1960 and the latest estimate (57 million) for the annual large-scale release of gamebirds exceeds any other gamebird release in Europe or North America.
The increasing number of gamebirds released in the UK has triggered concerns about the ecological impacts of this widespread activity. Concerns have been raised that the numbers and densities of non-native gamebirds are having widespread negative ecological impacts.
Anecdotal evidence suggests that gamebird release may be having a negative impact on UK reptile populations. Recent reviews recommend urgent research examining the direct impacts of gamebirds on reptiles as information is lacking on the effect of gamebirds and their potentially
detrimental effects on reptile populations. Against a backdrop of native species decline in the UK understanding the impacts of large-scale releases of gamebirds represents a major challenge. There is therefore strong justification for studies that aim to produce empirical evidence on the
relationship between gamebirds and reptiles.
Hills, L., Lewis, B., Hills, R., 2020. Dorsal stripe polymorphism of Vipera berus in south-east England. The Herpetological Bulletin 26-28.
Reptile and Amphibian Working Group 2019. Population status of the adder at national and local levels in the UK. Richard A. Griffiths, Lawrence Hills, Darryn Nash, Emma Gardner, Angela Julian, John Baker.
I am an active member of Kent Reptile and Amphibian Group. I monitor two reptile sites in Kent and I have recently become involved in the ‘Wilder Blean’ rewilding project where I help to collect baseline reptile data.