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Good news for newts!

Posted on: 11 September, 2023

Great-crested newt numbers have risen by 87% at Bristol Zoo Project since 2021, thanks to a £50,000 grant from the Landfill Communities Fund to restore ponds at the site.

An orange and black spotty great-crested newt being held in gloved hands

The grant has allowed our conservationists to restore 10 ponds, providing vital habitats for the newts and other aquatic species, and boosting biodiversity.

The restoration began back in 2018, when our conservationists set to work reviving the 10 neglected ponds. Littering, overgrown vegetation and sedimentation had damaged the ponds, limiting the amount of species and animals that were able to survive there. By removing sediment, lining the ponds and enhancing the habitat complexity with gravel, rocks, and native aquatic plants, they’ve been brought back to life. The restored ponds are now varied habitats suitable for many aquatic species, including great-crested newts.

The population monitoring of the newts has happened through our Wild Wednesdays volunteering programme. Every Wednesday, our native wildlife conservationists are joined by dedicated volunteers to carry out surveys of the British wildlife that lives on the zoo site. The monitoring helps us to make sure we’re managing our land in the best way possible to benefit British wildlife and measure the impact of our efforts to improve habitats.

As well as providing habitats for newts, the ponds can also now be used for schools’ education sessions and other forms of community engagement, educating the public on the importance of ponds and aquatic wildlife.

A huge thanks to the Landfill Communities Fund, Enovert Community Trust, and the Guild of Guardians whose grants made this work possible.

Bristol Zoo Project is part of Bristol Zoological Society, a conservation and education charity, working around the world to save wildlife.