Help to record Fenland wildlife

From newts and snakes to water voles and otters; butterflies and dragonflies to spiders and harvestman. This isn’t some strange new wildlife sanctuary, but a collection of just some of the species recently reported to the county’s environmental record centre.

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Environmental Records Centre (CPERC) have been delighted by the response from local people and organisations that have helped to record species as part of the ‘Recording wildlife near you’ project. It aims to build up a better picture of wildlife species across the county, filling in current gaps in our knowledge and has been supported by a grant of £40,400 from the Heritage Lottery Fund. Although only just over halfway through this 18 month project, CPERC staff are already enthusiastic about the records that have been submitted.

Jane Andrews-Gauvain, the Biodiversity Outreach Officer said: “It’s been heartening to see so many keen individuals help with the project. So far we have collected over 600 records of a wide range of species across Cambridgeshire. Very excitingly these have included confirmed new sightings of both protected species such as Water Vole and Great Crested Newt and locally scarce species such as Black Oil Beetle and a spider called Ozyptila simplex, both of which are a rare find in this county. We couldn’t have done this without help from volunteers and we want to say a big thank you to them all! ”

However, Jane explained that there is still a long way to go before gaps in recording are closed. “Many people often tell me they have spotted a lizard, or bat by chance while out walking, but they didn’t know that we wanted to know! This project is helping to get the message out about how important it is to tell us what you have seen so we can build a better picture of the existing wildlife and habitats and also ensure that any changes in species and their environment can be detected in future.”

Robyn Llewellyn, Head of the HLF East of England said: “It is fantastic to see that so many people are getting involved in this project and helping to create clearer records of the county’s biodiversity, whilst learning more about this fascinating habitat in the process”.

To find out more about how you can help with your wildlife sightings visit www.cperc.org.uk or contact Jane, email Jane.Andrews-Gauvain@cperc.org.uk, on 01954 713572.