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La Gomera’s Giant Lizard population continues to grow 

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A new census of the Giant Lizard which lives on La Gomera is to be carried out in 2017.

Control work will also continue and there will be various activities in educational centres.

Currently more than 500 specimens live in their natural habitat and 280 do so in the recovery centre of Valle Gran Rey.

The island’s president, Casimiro Curbelo, stressed the desire to ensure the survival of the Giant Lizard and make the island’s inhabitants the greatest allies of its conservation.

In this regard, he recalled that a set of initiatives has been developed that have allowed the dissemination of the species and knowledge of it in the educational centres of the island so that the smallest of conservation efforts are encouraged.

He emphasised the plan of recovery of the species in force since 2006, being the main line of work that has been followed in these years. This initiative has managed to increase the population in the natural environment and also to establish actions for the control of the predators of the species.

Councillor for territory development, Alfredo Herrera explained that in the past year about 100 lizards have been released, creating three small groups in an area that meets the requirements for species growth. In addition, the relea-ses are allowing consolidation of populations and dispersal of the specimens in areas where the chances of survival are high.

Before the releases, life in captivity is set as a process of adaptation and learning of the specimens. At present, the recovery centre divides 280 lizards into two groups. On the one hand, the breeding specimens that guarantee the continuity of the species, and on the other hand are the younger lizards that are prepared for the expected releases.

Sr. Herrera explained that although the species is still in danger of extinction, the current situation is much better than in 1999 when the first specimens were found.

The latest data show the existence of 780 lizards, counting those who are already living in freedom and those who are in the recovery centre.

He added that these figures will be updated once the new census of the species is planned for this year.