Union Island Gecko gains CITES protection thanks to the work of the SVGEF

Union Island geckos are classified as Critically Endangered by the IUCN, signifying their very high risk of extinction. When first captured, Union Island geckos typically appear dull brown with white spots. After a few minutes, however, their red and green colours develop and become more and more prominent. It is not known why or how they change their colour.

The St Vincent & the Grenadines Environment Fund funded a project by Flora and Fauna International in collaboration with the St. Vincent Forestry Department to protect the endangered gecko and a rather special species of iguana known as the ‘pink rhino’ iguana, found on one of the outermost islands of the Grenadine archipelago, Union Island, in an area known as Chatham Forest.

The project identified threats facing the Union Island gecko and its habitat, and interventions that would ensure its survival were developed and prioritised. A biodiversity study which was recommended, was also supported by the Fund and was used as the basis of a proposal to Government to secure protection of the forest as a wildlife reserve.

A decision was taken at the 18th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties, Geneva Switzerland to list the Union Island gecko, found in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, on Appendix 1 of the CITES Convention.

The Government Praised the work of the SVGEF formerly the SVG Preservation Fund in its work to protect the gecko.

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