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IbizaPreservation launches new initiative for the conservation of the Ibizan lizard

Home / Noticias / IbizaPreservation launches new initiative for the conservation of the Ibizan lizard
Home / Noticias / IbizaPreservation launches new initiative for the conservation of the Ibizan lizard
IbizaPreservation launches new initiative for the conservation of the Ibizan lizard

Foundation will deploy funding from CaixaBank and Fundació Sa Nostra to support organisations already running snake eradication projects and promote the improvement of urban habitats

Ibiza 04/05/2023 – The current scientific evidence leaves no room for doubt: the Ibiza wall lizard runs a real risk of extinction if we are not able to reduce the pressure to which it is subjected by the invasion of snakes. “The challenge is enormous,” says Jordi Serapio, coordinator of IbizaPreservation’s newest project, ‘Protecting the Ibizan Lizard’. “We cannot give up, because resolving this issue is crucial in order to preserve one of our most emblematic species.”

20 years after the first snake sightings, the horseshoe whip has established a population on the island of Ibiza, with a rapid expansion that threatens lizards and the local ecosystem as a whole. Between 2014 and 2015 the Consell of Ibiza launched a pilot snake eradication project that helped to identify the severity of the problem. “Then in 2016, the Balearic Regional Government, began an ambitious campaign with the Consortium for the Recovery of Fauna and Flora (COFIB), through which thousands of specimens have been captured annually,” explains Serapio, who adds that “in 2018 the environmentalist Elba Montes noted the extinction of lizard populations in a significant part of the island.”

It wasn’t until 2021 that the community began to mobilise, first via the platform SOS Salvem sa sargantana pitiüsa, promoted by Dr. Antònia Maria Cirer from the Institut d’Estudis Eivissencs. Later, Amics de la Terra and GEN-GOB created the Sargantanes o Serps initiative, which brings together hundreds of volunteers. The island’s town councils have also been involved in the conservation of the lizard and in the improvement of urban habitats, and a research project led by Dr. Oriol Lapiedra (CREAF) revealed that small gardens in urban areas are a refuge for small populations.

Another milestone was achieved last January, with the approval of Decree Law 1/2023, for the protection of Balearic lizards, which regulates the entry of plant materials from the peninsula, and gives the Podarcis pityuensis legal protection status as a “vulnerable” species.

“The response has not been as rapid and forceful as was needed,” laments Serapio. “The scenario is not encouraging, so now we must focus our efforts on working together to contain the invasion of snakes from a multidisciplinary perspective and deepen our knowledge by strengthening the scientific community.”

It is precisely in this context that IbizaPreservation has launched its new initiative for the conservation of the Ibizan lizard, which comprises various different lines of action. Firstly, the Foundation will support organisations and groups that are already carrying out snake eradication projects, such as COFIB and volunteer platforms.

Thanks to the financial support of CaixaBank and Fundació Sa Nostra, Caixa de Balears, IbizaPreservation has already started the construction of new “smart” traps that will be ceded to COFIB for their management. These incorporate new technologies proposed at the “hackathon” organised by Ibiza Town Hall last October, which aim to make the traps more selective and improve their management by the technical staff.

This initiative was selected within the ‘Convocatoria de Medioambiente 2022’ of CaixaBank and Fundació Sa Nostra, which promotes projects aimed at improving natural heritage, through the protection of biodiversity, environmental innovation, circular economy and rural development.

Thanks to this support, the improvement of urban habitats where lizard populations survive will also be promoted via the creation of shelters. Through a collaboration with GEN-GOB, which includes several environmental education activities, IbizaPreservation has initiated the construction of these shelters, for installation in landscaped areas.