Photo credit: Nik Cole
The Round Island Skink, Leiolopisma telfairii, is classified as ‘VULNERABLE’ on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™. It is the largest surviving lizard of a diverse and unique community of reptiles that once dominated the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius. Following the arrival of people on Mauritius in the 16th century, the skink became restricted to the remote northern island, Round Island. At only 2.15 km2, this island currently supports an estimated 26,000 individuals.
The introduction of mammalian predators, such as rats, which decimate island reptile populations, is the main threat to the survival of this species. Round Island is one of only a few islands in the Indian Ocean that has never been invaded by rats. For this reason, the Round Island Skink still survives.
Since the removal of introduced rabbits and goats from Round Island, and aided by extensive habitat restoration, the skink population continues to grow. The eradication of introduced mammals from other islands around Mauritius has recently permitted conservationists to reintroduce the skink back to islands within its former range.
To learn more about Round Island Skinks, click here. Or visit the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™ by clicking their logo below.
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