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Set to return - a southern damselfy
Help for rare damselfly
Rare southern damselfies will again be fluttering around a Devon nature reserve, thanks to improvements to their habitat.
One of Britain's rarest insects is to be reintroduced to a nature reserve in East Devon - two decades after disappearing from the site.
Venn Ottery Nature Reserve used to be home to the southern damselfly, but the insect hasn't been seen there since the 1980s.
The Devon Wildlife Trust has received a grant to pay for changes to habitat at the reserve, which will enable the southern damselfly to be reintroduced.
The southern damselfly is among the most threatened insects in Britain, and action is needed to save it.
The programme of work will be completed in March 2008, and will significantly improve habitat at the reserve, which is part of the East Devon Pebblebed Heath site of special scientific interest (SSSI).
A network of dams is being created at the reserve
A series of dams is being installed in wetland areas on the 25-hectare site, to help slow the movement of water. This will help breeding conditions for the damselfly.
New ponds will also be created, and two bridges on the site are being restored to improve access.
Matt Boydell, nature reserves manager for the Devon Wildlife Trust, said: "We have wanted to try and bring back the southern damselfly for many years now.
"It doesn't disperse very well and we had hoped that it would arrive of its own accord from neighbouring Aylesbeare Common but sadly this has not happened.
"This work will make the habitat more suitable for the damselfly so that it can be reintroduced in the coming years when conditions are right."
The trust has received an £11,000 grant from Natural England to carry out the conservation work.
The project is being supported by Bardon Aggregates, which operates a number of sites in East Devon. Staff have offered their help with the work.
Richard Page, Devon operations manager for Bardon Aggregates, said: "Enhancing the natural environment and working closely with local communities are important priorities for Bardon Aggregates.
"We are therefore delighted to be able to support the Devon Wildlife Trust with their valuable work at Venn Ottery."
last updated: 21/02/2008 at 15:56