Half Mag / Half Zine

On St. Vincent and the Grenadines, a Critically Endangered gecko little bigger than a paperclip has been saved by diligent conservationists.

Known for jewel-like markings on its hide, the Union Island gecko has nearly doubled in numbers from 10,000 to 18,000 individuals in just four years.

Discovered in 2005 in a 123 acre swath of virgin rainforest on Union Island, the little gecko instantly became a target of illegal pet smugglers. By 2017 it was feared the animal would disappear entirely.

Conservation groups Fauna & Flora International, Re:Wild, and Union Island Environmental Alliance worked together with the country’s forestry department to develop a strategy to save the gecko utilizing camera surveillance and anti poaching patrols.

In 2019, the government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines also inscribed the Union Island gecko on Appendix I of CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora), with I representing the highest standard of protection and enforcement.

Their efforts had an immediate effect, not only stopping the loss of animals, but rapidly expanding their tiny footprint on the small island.

“As a Unionite and a community leader, I am extremely proud to be a part of this success story,” Roseman Adams, co-founder of the local Union Island Environmental Alliance, said in a press release.

“Without a doubt, our shared, unwavering dedication and sacrifice has brought us this far. We now have to be entirely consistent with further improvements in our management and protection of the gecko’s habitat for this success to be maintained.”