Photo: Tenerife Cabildo.
The Tenerife Cabildo has inaugurated a Recovery Plan for Tenerife’s giant lizard (Gallotia intermedia) to try to guarantee the long-term survival of this endemic species which is in danger of extinction. The plan is being carried out by the Biodiversity Unit of the Department of Sustainability, Environment and Security, and will consist of analysis and mitigation of the risk factors of this autochthonous reptile, and studies of genetic diversity aimed at increasing the number of specimens catalogued.
In the past, it appears that the giant lizard’s distribution was widespread in Tenerife, but now it has small populations primarily based in coastal areas and cliffs which are difficult to access. These environments, as with the giant lizards in La Gomera and El Hierro, are probably because some of the main threats faced by the lizard, such as non-autochthonous and invasive mammals, are reduced or have been eradicated in these areas, but it serves also to limit the lizards from moving into other areas.
Under the Recovery Plan, which will run initially for five years, technicians will conduct census of the different populations to infer trends, analyze the degree of kinship between the main giant lizard populations of Tenerife and the level of isolation between the localized subpopulations. The Cabildo will simultaneously run a range of information programmes to make the public aware of Tenerife’s giant lizard’s conservation, and the measures being adopted to try to guarantee its survival.