Protecting the Union Island Gecko and Pink Rhino Iguana
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.
We 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 prioritized. A biodiversity study which was recommended, is now being supported by the Fund and will be used as the basis of a proposal to Government to secure protection of the forest as a wildlife reserve.
Already, all parties have worked together to successfully capture and prosecute a poacher collecting wildlife for the pet trade.
As of March 2019, the Government of SVG has finally made an application to the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES) for the Union island gecko to be listed as a protected species and to ban all international trade in this species.