Union Island Gecko Initiative
Project Animal(s) : Gecko
Project Category : Reptiles
Project Region : North America
Project Type : Conservation
Project URL : https://www.fauna-flora.org/projects/union-island-gecko-initiative
Project is timebound? : No
In 2015, FFI was approached by the St Vincent & the Grenadines Forestry Department to help save the Union Island gecko, a tiny jewel-like lizard known only from a restricted area of dry forest in Chatham Bay on Union Island. Further investigations confirmed that live geckos were being poached and sold abroad to collectors, and their forest habitat was in grave danger of being destroyed.
FFI, the SVG Forestry Department and Virginia Zoo developed a recovery plan with Union Islanders, which aims to halt illegal exploitation of the geckos and other wildlife, and to use the gecko as a flagship for conserving the remarkably biodiverse forest. Locally recruited wardens now patrol the forest, and 2017 saw the first arrest and conviction of a reptile poacher. Further work is underway to bring important parts of the amazing Chatham Bay ecosystem under protection, to transform the gecko into a mascot for Union Island, and to develop more sustainable livelihoods for impoverished islanders.
Project Agency : Fauna & Flora International
Project Agency Contact : https://www.fauna-flora.org/
Project Researcher Contact : [email protected]