“The rise and fall of our Great Crested Newts”

Sara Messenger of the Three Brooks nature reserve tells a story of the effects of the 2018 drought on a pond of Great Crested newts and sticklebacks and the efforts of her conservation group to rescue them. At another nearby pond the water has dried out completely. Sara talks of the UK wide impact of this year’s drought.

Sara Messenger: Hello, my name’s Sara Messenger. I’m the treasurer for the Three Brooks nature conservation group and the project leader for the Bradley Stoke green gym. A couple of weeks ago, we had to rescue 69 great crested newt efts and 84 other efts from a pond which had shrunk to about a foot of water. If we hadn’t got them out, they would have definitely perished. A month before that, we had to rescue sticklebacks and all their fry from another pond that had also shrunk down to about a foot. And, in a third pond, which is an old farm pond, so that’s been there for many, many years, did, for the first time, to my knowledge, dry up completely and, again, we had to rescue all the fish and even the snails from that pond. It’s been quite a devastating year, has 2018, for our wildlife. With our in bloom hat on, we have just given up. We’ve been unable to water our plants and we’ve just had to let them go and we’ll replace them, when the weather is better. On another note, my sister in law’s well, which is about 50 foot deep, has, for the first time in 50 years, dried up. She lives in Cambridgeshire so it’s not just us. It does seem to be across the country that everybody is suffering from drought.

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