ANGUILLA–Four of Anguilla’s endangered animals have been formally recognised as deserving of the protection afforded by the Biodiversity and Heritage Conservation (BHC) Act (2009). They are the Anguilla Bank racer, Anguilla Bank skink, Sombrero ground lizard and Little Scrub ground lizard, all of which have been classified as endangered species by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). They will be added to Schedule 1 of the Act which gives them full protection from hunting and deliberate killing.
In addition, in recognition of the damaging effect that the invasive common green iguana can have on native wildlife, agriculture and the economy, this species will be removed from Schedule 1 of the BHC Act – while the native and critically endangered Lesser Antillean iguana remains protected.
These reptile species join other animals and plants already protected by law in Anguilla, including Anguilla’s only endemic plant Anguilla bush (Rondeletia anguillensis), the highly threatened lignum vitae tree and all species of sea turtle that nest and forage in Anguilla’s waters.
A release from the Anguilla National Trust states that while Anguilla is world-renowned for its pristine beaches and turquoise waters, in recent years, the island’s unique and threatened wildlife has suffered severe population declines while the natural environment has been severely degraded, both caused by the effects of land development, hunting, deliberate killing, pollution and, more recently, the effects of climate change.
The Trust, in partnership with the Department of Natural Resources, Department of Disaster Management and local stakeholders, is supported by international organisations including Fauna and Flora International, Durrell Conservation Trust, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and the University of Roehampton. They are working together to help ensure the long-term survival of Anguilla’s unique animal and plant populations and restore habitats for the benefit of Anguilla through sustainable development initiatives, re-planting of trees, range expansion of endangered species and removal of invasive species.