The reptile team, at Cotswold Wildlife Park, is celebrating the arrival of three Electric Blue Gecko babies.
It is the first time the park has successfully bred this species. Electric Blue Geckos are only found in a small area in Tanzania and are classified as Critically Endangered by the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature).
Survival for these striking creatures in the wild is fraught with peril. They inhabit less than eight square kilometers of the Kimboza Forest in Tanzania, within which they exclusively dwell in the leaf crowns of one specific tree (Pandanus rabaiensis). Tragically, these beautiful lizards are in high demand from the illegal pet trade, which alone wiped out at least 15% of the population in Kimboza Forest between 2004 and 2009. Illegal collectors cut down the Pandanus rabaiensis trees to collect the rare geckos, destroying their delicate habitat and population numbers at the same time. They also face severe habitat loss from illegal logging, agricultural demands and climate change. Based on a recent study, this species is considered to be threatened with extinction in the near future.
Curator of Cotswold Wildlife Park, Jamie Craig, commented, “Our specialist Reptile Department has been working on perfecting their husbandry techniques with this species, and these hatchlings are an excellent reward for their dedication. It is a real achievement for the park and we are continuing to get eggs and have a high success rate.”
They are a brand new species to the park. Not long after their arrival, the reptile team noticed tiny eggs in the corner of their off-show enclosure. After approximately sixty to ninety days, three tiny Electric Blue Geckos hatched. The babies are healthy and currently off-show in climate-controlled incubators.