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Canberra protecting threatened pink-tailed worm-lizard

Staff Writer |
The pink-tailed worm-lizard (Aprasia parapulchella) is a rare legless lizard found in Australia.

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Following public consultation the final action plan for the pink-tailed worm-lizard has been released.

“The aim of the action plan for Pink-tailed Worm-lizard is to protect sites where large and medium-sized populations of the lizards occur as well as important areas for habitat connectivity, so that these vulnerable animals can persist in the ACT for the long term,” Conservator of Flora and Fauna, Dr Annie Lane said.

“The Pink-tailed Worm-lizard makes its home in rocky native grassland, which in the ACT is found mostly along the Molonglo and Murrumbidgee River corridors, and also on hills such as Mount Taylor, Cooleman Ridge and Urambi Hills.

“Threats to the species include habitat degradation through fragmentation, rock removal and weed invasion. The action plan addresses these threats and works to ensure that this fascinating legless lizard remains part of the fauna of the ACT long into the future.

“Key actions of the plan include habitat restoration, weed control and implementation of appropriate grazing and slashing activities as well as improving community awareness. The weed control work undertaken by Parkcare volunteers likely plays an important role in maintaining key rocky habitat for this lizard.

“The Pink-tailed Worm-lizard is often mistaken for a worm or small snake. They live under rocks in the burrows of ants, which provide food, shelter and opportunities for thermoregulation. It is vital that the community understands the negative impact rock removal has on the species.

“Following a six-week public consultation, the draft action plan has been revised to reflect the comments and submissions received. Key messages included the role of rural land in providing corridors of connected habitat for the species, and also the importance of recognizing the potential contribution of small isolated populations to the species’ overall genetic diversity.

"The ACT Government has been committed to protecting the Pink-tailed Worm-lizard which was officially declared as a vulnerable species in the ACT in 2008 and will continue to do so well into the future,” Dr Lane said.

The Pink-tailed Worm-lizard was declared a vulnerable species on March 27, 2008.

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