Shocking photos have been released showing lizards that were killed in a grassland fire in Richmond Park during lockdown last year. 

The Royal Parks has said that a fire from an illegal BBQ most probably caused the blaze, which saw animals and ancient trees charred as a result.  

The Parks have issued a warning to park-goers about the damage to wildlife caused by reckless behaviour.

Richmond and Twickenham Times: Lizards burned alive after a BBQ Lizards burned alive after a BBQ

Although the Royal Parks don’t know for sure how this particular fire started, they said they are often caused by BBQs, which are forbidden.

A spokesperson said this fire, which covered 100m2 of the park, was not an isolated incident, and that cumulatively fire can do “great damage” to grassland habitats.

Peter Lawrence, Biodiversity manager at The Royal Parks, said:

“These habitats are of great value, and the fires also kill any wildlife trapped in the blaze. As well as these lizards, we've found grass snakes, toads, frogs, newts and stag beetles killed in other fires, while many other invertebrates are also likely to have perished. 

“Fire also poses a risk to people, including those who tackle the blaze. Please don’t light BBQs: protect this wonderful wildlife.”

This comes as the Royal Parks have launched their #LeaveNoTrace campaign, which encourages visitors to take their litter home with them.

Richmond and Twickenham Times: BBQs are becoming an increasing problem in Bushy Park BBQs are becoming an increasing problem in Bushy Park

Peter Lawrence added:  

“The dumped trash is unsightly, and the plastic bottles and cans will not decompose for many, many years and may trap wildlife. Of course, our staff stepped in to clear it away, but that takes them away from other tasks managing habitats and helping wildlife.

“Importantly, bonfires and BBQs aren’t permitted in the park. Fires often get out of hand, particularly in dry weather. But also, fires destroy any deadwood placed in the fire. Deadwood is an incredibly important habitat supporting a huge variety of wildlife, from fungi to rare invertebrates.”