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Dec 1, 2008

Dudley Castle Moat Amphibian Sanctuary

Dudley castle moat amphibian sanctuary from Dudley Zoological Gardens 

Conserving the great crested newt and other amphibians in an old castle moat 

The great crested newt is, famously, Britain’s most threatened newt.

In 1996, responding to the dramatic global decline of amphibian taxa, Dudley Zoo designated the ornamental pools in the Dudley castle
moat as an amphibian sanctuary, removed all fish and began to introduce plants to encourage amphibian breeding. A survey for newts showed them not to be present although common frog and toad were.

Smooth newts (Triturus vulgaris) were introduced in egg and larval stages in 1996 and English Nature were approached about the possibility of introducing  great crested newts commencing the following year.

All necessary permissions were granted and in March 1997 several female great created newts were collected (under licence) and held for one week to lay their eggs on plastic strips. They were then released to their original pond. The resulting larvae were raised on a rich diet until a few weeks before their transition to a terrestrial form and then released into the moat pools.

This process was repeated in 1998 and 1999. In 1999 adult newts were already returning to the pools to breed and now, 10 years after the original introduction there is a strong breeding population in the series of nine pools. 

Developed by:  Dudley Zoological Gardens

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