Conservation of the Barbados Leaf-toed Gecko

The endemic Leaf-toed gecko (Phyllodactylus pulcher) was rediscovered in 2011 after several decades of being assumed extinct. The leaf-toed gecko was assessed as Critically Endangered by the IUCN in 2017. Subsequent studies have indicated low densities in small areas of limestone cliff habitat on the north and south east coasts of Barbados.

Invasive predatory species have been observed to overlap in range with the gecko. Of most concern are rats and mongooses, although cats and centipedes are also responsible for mortality. In addition, the invasive Hemidactylus mabouia house gecko, may be a competitor and is found in built habitat adjacent to habitat of the endemic gecko.

The primary objective of this project is to address the specific challenge posed by invasive mammalian and other predators to the leaf-toed gecko. The gecko will be protected through predator removal and exclusion fencing. The enclosure site may be used to display what is one of Barbados’ only endemic vertebrate species within a confined but natural setting, for educational, research and possibly ecotourism purposes.

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