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Wildlife workers in battle to save Studland Bay
WILDLIFE experts have launched a project in a bid to safeguard Studland Bay’s fragile ecosystem beneath the waves.
Endangered species such as the rare undulate ray depend on the bay’s seagrass meadows, pictured inset, on the seabed.
So for the next two months Dorset Wildlife Trust (DWT) wardens will be kayaking in Studland Bay and talking to the local community and visitors about what they can do to help.
They will also be handing out a new leaflet, from the Royal Yachting Association, which gives guidance about anchoring in areas rich with seagrass.
DWT marine awareness officer Julie Hatcher explained: “It is imperative that marine species which depend on seagrass to survive are given the best chance possible.
“Seagrass also has other important uses, such as providing a coastal defence by absorbing wave energy before it reaches soft sandy cliffs, and helping to regulate climate change by absorbing CO2.”
Wardens are also set to quiz boat owners on whether they would support a voluntary no-anchor zone at Studland. Other species that depend on Studland’s seagrass, which has an extensive root system that creates a stable environment, include both British seahorse species, juvenile bass, bream, flatfish and all six species of British pipefish.
Seagrass warden Daren Lloyd said: “Often if we can’t see something we don’t think about it.
“We are not only here to raise awareness, but to ask the opinion of the people who use the bay on how they think they could manage it.
“It’s not about lecturing people – it is about making them aware of the issues and working together to protect habitats for marine life at Studland Bay.”
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