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24th Jun, 2022

University student aiming to save Malvern Hills species

Malvern Editorial 11th Jul, 2014 Updated: 20th Oct, 2016

SPECIES living in the Malvern Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty could be saved for future generations thanks to the efforts of a university student.

Dragos Hritulac who studies at the University of Worcester, will use state-of-the-art technology to track different species in the town’s picturesque hills landscape and help plan where new habitats could be created to ensure their survival.

The Malvern Hills provide a home for an extensive number of threatened species, including the dormouse, bullfinch and lesser horseshoe bat, as well as habitats such as traditional orchards, lowland meadows and mixed deciduous woods.

Despite being designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in 1959, which affords some protection to species and habitats, there have been many changes which have led to important habitats in the area being fragmented in some way or form.

This has then resulted in biodiversity hotspots and the isolation of habitats – leading to the long-term detriment of a species.

The Malvern Hills AONB Partnership and Worcestershire Wildlife Trust will be involved in the research as part of their ‘Making space for nature’ project.

University of Worcester senior lecturer Dr Duncan Westbury, who is supervising the research, along with Robbie Austrums, said: “This is a very exciting project and presents a wonderful opportunity for one of our undergraduate students to be involved with such important research.

“Rather than tracking the actual movement of species within the area, Dragos will be using Geographical Informational Systems (GIS) to explore the connectivity between habitats for a number of key species and its dispersal capabilities.”

Dragos’ research is being funded by the University’s Vacation Research Assistant Scheme, which helps students with extracurricular work over the summer.

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