Have you ever heard of the Union Island gecko? If you haven’t, don’t feel bad because there are very few of them left in the world.
The little gecko, which can be found in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, has been critically endangered, thanks to poaching by pet smugglers. It all started back in 2005 when the geckos were discovered in the virgin rainforest of Union Island.
According to National Geographic, after being discovered, illegal pet smugglers began stealing the little geckos for the pet trade. They entered the critically endangered list and by 2017, it was thought that they might not be able to recover.
Thanks to some efforts by conservationists, however, the little gecko has been able to make a comeback. In a short amount of time, they were able to practically double their numbers from 10,000 to 18,000. It only took four years to do so, as shared by the conservation group Fauna & Flora International:
One of the world’s most threatened reptiles has staged a spectacular comeback.
The number of critically endangered Union Island geckos has almost doubled since 2018. Meaning this tiny lizard has taken a significant step back from the jaws of extinction. pic.twitter.com/DmUFPzJkGh
— Fauna & Flora International (@FaunaFloraInt) December 31, 2022
The government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines also stepped in with some legislation to help protect the gecko in 2019. It was the Union Island gecko on Appendix I of CITES that made the difference.
After putting efforts into place to save the gecko, it began showing fruitage immediately. The animals were no longer being poached at such a significant level and the small island was soon seeing many more of them in a larger area.
According to a press release, the cofounder of the Union Island Environmental Alliance, Roseman Adams said: “As a Unionite and a community leader, I am extremely proud to be a part of this success story.”
They went on to say that the dedication and sacrifice of those who stepped up to the plate has worked for the protection of the geckos’ habitat and for the success to be maintained.Whizzco