Marwell Zoo fits small radio tags to lizards rehomed in the wild

Marwell Zoo has fitted sand lizards with tiny radio tags to track their movements. Picture: Jason Brown Photography
Marwell Zoo has fitted sand lizards with tiny radio tags to track their movements. Picture: Jason Brown Photography

A ZOO has fitted tiny radio tags to track the movements of a group of Britain's rarest reptiles as they are reintroduced into the wild.

Marwell Zoo, near Winchester, has fitted the transmitters to 24 out of 86 sand lizards being released at a site of special scientific interest in Farnborough.

The aim is to use the trackers, which weigh just 0.29 grams, to help understand their behaviour.

It will be the first time that radio tags, which fall off after a short period of time or when the lizard sheds its skin, have been used to monitor the sand lizard in the UK.

Marwell Zoo is reintroducing 250 of the lizards to the dedicated site.

They are found across Europe and Asia but the species disappeared from most of its habitats in England and Wales. Its numbers are now increasing following conservation efforts.

Rachel Gardner, a PhD university student, said: ‘Being able to track the lizards in this way is really exciting, I can't wait to see exactly how they use the habitat.’