Isle of Man News - POSTED Wed 14-03-2018

Help for rare species of grasshopper

by TH

Help for rare species of grasshopper

Plans are in place to try and extend the habitat for a rare species of grasshopper.

The Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture will introduce a small number of highland cattle at Langness.

Langness peninsula is the only place in the British Isles where the lesser mottled grasshopper is found.

The peninsula forms part of a designated area of special scientific interest that also encompasses Derbyhaven and Sandwick.

Langness has been managed through grazing with sheep and cattle for many years, however this has become problematic due to several incidents with dogs attacking sheep on the land.

Where grazing has been removed, areas of lesser mottled grasshopper habitat have become restricted to small isolated patches. 

Cattle grazing at Langness should help to reconnect these areas and support a viable population of grasshoppers as well as benefiting other varieties of wildlife and flora in the long term.

Biodiversity Officer Sophie Costain says: "Highland cattle are renowned for their hardiness, unfussy diet and ability to forage through more unpalatable vegetation. 

"They also need little in the form of additional shelter or food. 

"All these attributes mean they should adapt well to the exposed nature of Langness and their sure footedness will enable them to easily traverse the steep sided gullies."

Minister Geoffrey Boot says: "The Isle of Man is home to rich and varied flora and fauna, some of which is rare and found in unique habitats. 

"The presence of this species of grasshopper – which is not found in the adjacent islands – is yet another example of why the Island has been designated a world biosphere region by UNESCO.

"We must continue our work to conserve areas for species of plants and animals in need of protection. 

"This means safeguarding our unique habitats for the enjoyment and benefit of current and future generations and in doing so putting the Isle of Man and its unique biosphere firmly on the world map."

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