La Gomera to see more Giant Lizards in the wild
Wildlife experts are so pleased with the success of a breeding programme to save La Gomera’s Giant Lizard that more young reptiles are to be introduced in new parts of the island.
Around 400 specimens are being raised in captivity in the specialist centre in Valle Gran Rey, of which 70 correspond to new births. There were only three new arrivals in 2001.
This allows annual planning for their gradual reintro-duction that begins with an adaptation process that lasts between four and seven months, a time in which they are raised in an indoor terrarium with light control, regulated temperature, to-gether with night and day cycles.
The Gallotia bravoana, as this species is known, remains listed as the most threatened reptile in the world, hence the Cabildo continues with the tasks of recovery and pro-gramming of new releases.
Minister of the Environ-ment, Héctor Cabrera said the main objective for this year is to have new areas of release in which the reintroduction has greater guarantees of success, as well as to increase the size of the current terrarium.
Preparations are being made to release another 120 lizards.
Other measures are the creation of a census of the natural population located in the Risco de La Mérica, for which progress is being made in a global project that contemplates other actions in this environment, and will be put out to tender in 2020.
“It is about knowing, in situ, the real number of lizards that are in this space,” said Sr. Cabrera.
Usually, the weight of a lizard at birth does not exceed 3.6 grams and a length of 50 millimetres. However, this dimension reaches 400 millimetres in adulthood. The food they receive is based on fruit, vegetables, alfalfa and insects, so that it helps them to adapt, before they leave the captive breeding system.