Initiative is led by IbizaPreservation in collaboration with GEN-GOB and Amics de la Terra and with funding from CaixaBank and Fundació Sa Nostra
Santa Eulalia, 27/06/2023 – IbizaPreservation has launched a new initiative that aims to help protect the endangered Ibizan lizard by installing stone sanctuaries in garden areas of around fifty hotels. The first stones were laid at the AluaSoul Ibiza hotel in Es Canar earlier today, as part of the environmental foundation’s new ‘Protecting the Ibizan Lizard’ project.
The initiative is a collaboration with the ‘Lizards or Snakes’ platform, formed by GEN-GOB and Amics de la Terra Ibiza, building on a pilot project they started last year together with COFIB (Consortium for the Recovery of the Fauna of the Balearic Islands), which involved installing shelters on the Santa Eulàlia seafront. It is also supported by CaixaBank and Fundació Sa Nostra, having been selected amongst the successful applicants for their ‘Convocatoria de Medioambiente 2022’ round of funding.
“It is a proven fact that the lizard has already become extinct in an important part of the island, and the rapid expansion of snake populations raises fears that in a few years they will occupy the entire island. However, certain urban areas have acted as a barrier for snakes, and small populations of lizards survive there. This project seeks to improve these “urban” spaces that act as small reserves for the species, and which can be of great importance for its conservation,” explained Jordi Serapio, the coordinator of IbizaPreservation’s lizard protection project.
Serapio also outlined why AluaSoul Ibiza to inaugurate this new initiative: “After visiting this hotel, we were pleasantly surprised to be able to verify the presence of a small population of lizards, whereas in nearby areas, and in all the rural areas of Santa Eulalia, they seem to have become completely extinct. Es Canar is a good example of how urban areas act as refuges for lizards. The small populations that survive in these areas could be of great importance for the future of the species.”
The sanctuaries were built by GEN-GOB volunteers and consist of stone slabs pierced with small holes that allow access for lizards. IbizaPreservation plans to install 100 of these refuge stones during the year and welcomes the participation of local hotels and resorts in the initiative.
“To date, 44 hotels have contacted the foundation expressing an interest in this project and our coordinator is currently studying the spaces these companies have available to assess and select the optimal places to install sanctuaries. We are very happy with the response to the project so far, and we are confident that many more will join,” said Inma Saranova, director of IbizaPreservation.
Saranova called for action to improve the prospects of this emblematic species: “It’s a collective responsibility to protect the lizards and everyone can do something to help; not only the hotels, which have optimal landscaped spaces to install these sanctuaries and are in a position to spread the message among visitors to Ibiza and Formentera; but also the public, by calling 112 to report snake sightings; or the government, by guaranteeing that sufficient means are provided to enforce new regulations requiring the quarantine of plants and trees to prevent the arrival of snakes.”
Nuria Anuncibay, director of AluaSoul Ibiza, part of the World of Hyatt Inclusive Collection, added, “We wanted to join the initiative to install sanctuaries for the Ibizan lizard in our hotel as we are keen to contribute to the preservation of the island’s flora and fauna. We have many lizards in our gardens and with the installation of the sanctuaries we can help prevent their extinction and promote sustainable tourism that protects biological diversity in line with our Sustainability Plan.”
Jordi Serapio emphasised the additional, educational nature of the initiative: “Customers at these establishments can scan a QR code and learn more about this emblematic species and the threat to its conservation due to this biological invasion.”