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Three Australian Lizards Declared Extinct In The Wild

December 7, 2017



There is some bad news coming out of Australia’s Christmas Island, as three native lizard species, Lister's gecko (Lepidodactylus listeri), the blue-tailed skink (Cryptoblepharus egeriae) and the Christmas Island forest-skink (Emoia nativitatis) have been downgraded by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, from critically endangered, to extinct in the wild. The IUCN released its annual Red List of of endangered species December 5 in Tokyo.

blue-tailed skink

Parks Australia/Renata De Jonge

The blue-tailed skink has an established captive breeding program.
 

"The extinctions ... are an intriguing 'whodunnit', as their cause remains unclear," John Woinarski, professor of conservation biology at Charles Darwin University in northern Australia, told The Telegraph.

Scientists are speculating that the wolf snake and giant centipedes, both introduced species may be to blame, or perhaps the yellow crazy ant, another introduced species, may have contributed to their decline, but "the reason for the decline remains unclear,"  according to the study.

Although the  Lister's gecko and the blue-tailed skink have established captive breeding program’s, the Christmas Island forest-skink does not, and the last known captive specimen, named Gump, died in 2014.

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