Community Outreach at Gemswick

The Biodiversity Conservation and Management Team embarked on a door-to-door community outreach activity on March 30th and 31st to raise awareness about the Barbados leaf-toed gecko bio-secure site project. The project aims to erect a bio-secure fence to protect the Critically Endangered Barbados leaf-toed gecko within a 1-hectare area. The Barbados leaf-toed gecko is a small, insectivorous lizard species that is unique to Barbados and faces the threat of extinction due to habitat loss and predation by invasive species.

Intended location of the bio-secure fence.

The project, which is spearheaded by the Ministry of Environment and National Beautification, Green and Blue Economy and funded by the Global Environment Facility under a larger regional project titled “Preventing Costs of Invasive Alien Species in Barbados and Countries of the OECS“, aims to create a safe haven to protect at least one sub-population of the leaf-toed gecko from invasive species at Paragon. First, large rocks will be put into place to create habitat for the gecko. After this, bio-secure fencing will be erected around the area. The fence is specially designed to prevent entry of rats, mongooses, cats, cane toads and centipedes. Once the fence has been erected, invasive species still within the fenced area will be eradicated. Finally, leaf-toed geckos will be introduced to the area to breed and, hopefully, become a self-sufficient population.

The Barbados leaf-toed gecko (Phyllodactylus pulcher).

The team, armed with informative pamphlets and a passion for conservation, went from door to door engaging with members of the Gemswick community and talking about the Barbados leaf-toed gecko, its uniqueness to Barbados, and the plan to protect it from extinction. Community response was positive, and they were assured that their traditional uses of the surrounding areas, such as fishing and exercise, would not be restricted.

Please feel free to download the pamphlet below.

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