For the first time since 2010 the endemic blue-tailed skink (Cryptoblepharus egeriae) has been reintroduced to Christmas Island and are roaming free in the wild!
These striking little lizards were found only on Christmas Island but sadly were extinct in the wild…until now! They were found all over the island until the late 20th century, including in settled areas. However, introduced predators have ravaged the population.
The Official Release
On Monday the 20th of February, the Threatened Species Team released 52 blue-tailed skinks into the wild.
The location for this trial ‘hard release’ was carefully selected to include ideal skink habitat and a high density of red crabs which are thought to supress wolf snake numbers, the skinks main threat.
Through monitoring, including the use of emerging eDNA technology, scientists hope to learn more about how the skinks persist in the wild and how or if wolf snakes move into the area populated by the skinks.
Early Signs of Success
Earlier in February Parks released 135 blue-tailed skinks into the soft release site near the circuit tracks.
They are young adults, some already beginning to breed and all looking excited to be free in their new home.
Two tents in the site containing 76 Lister’s geckos were also opened, allowing the geckos to explore their surroundings as they please.
They have some lovely new habitat to explore and loads of insect food established in the site to sustain them, so we wish them all the best and look forward to monitoring their progress closely!
Want to see some more Christmas Island wildlife? Come and stay with us at Swell Lodge. Experience a luxury get away all whilst minimising your impact on the island’s precious environment.