Endangered species of lizards, which were rescued from the Mauritian islands after the devastating oil spill have successfully been bred by scientists at the Jersey zoo. Three species namely, Bojer’s skink, the lesser night gecko and Bouton’s skink were rescued by the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust after the huge oil spill by Japanese oil tanker, MV Wakashio in July 2020. Reportedly, 1000 tonne of heavy fuel oil was spilled in the sea which caused substantial damages to the marine ecosystem, devastating the reefs and endangering several species that lived on the islands of Mauritius.
The Durrell Conservation Trust rushed to save these endangered species. Wearing gas masks to save themselves from the toxic oil, Dr Nik Cole of the Durrell Foundation and the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation were able to save 66 of these reptiles, which were later transferred to the Jersey zoo.
Matt Goetz, head of herpetology at Durrell, said that they wanted to return the animals to the islands as soon as possible but the same could take up to 2 years, as the damage done by the oil spill would need time to recuperate and replenish.
Jersey Zoo was established in 1959 by naturalist and writer, Gerald Durrell, on the island of Jersey. The place is run by the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust and is home to over 130 rare and endangered species of mammals, birds, amphibians and reptiles.