You may have already read about the volunteer coordinators’ adventures with the terrapin spotters on the Ashby Canal – but do you know why the environment team was so keen to get this project off the ground?
If you've read any of our recent posts about ninja turtles, or our efforts to catch them, you'll know we're on a bit of a terrapin quest. But why are we so interested, and why have we recruited volunteers to catch terrapins on a stretch of rural canal?
The Ashby Canal runs for 22 miles through rural Leicestershire and is an important wildlife habitat, with the upper section (from Carlton to the old Snarestone terminus) designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest. Therefore the work of the volunteer spotters and catchers is really important in safeguarding this special area – if left unchecked, the terrapins (which are unwanted pets, dumped when they grew too large for their owners and domestic tanks), can munch their way through dragonfly and damselfly larvae, small fish, frogspawn and even ducklings, threatening the ecology of the canal.
We are therefore incredibly grateful to the volunteers who have come forward to develop a trap that will humanely capture these invaders, and allow them to be rehomed by the British Chelonia Group, who will find them caring and safe homes away from the waterways. Plans are afoot this autumn to develop the right trap, which will be used next spring when the weather warms up and the terrapins start basking in the warm sun again. So thank you to our volunteers Alex, Chris, Paul, Jackie and Tony, who are all helping us to win the fight against these unwelcome visitors to our local canals. We will update you when we have more news on their progress.
The Canal & River Trust has top team of committed experts and enthusiasts, who help to protect our waterway environment and improve it for both people and nature. Follow this blog to find out more about the hugely varied work they carry out.See more blogs from The environment team