Mauritius, an island nation off the coast of southeast Africa, is best known to naturalists as the site of the Dodo Bird’s extinction (Mauritius also is, in a sense, the reason I was hired by the Bronx Zoo and spared life as a lawyer – see article below for the story!). Herp enthusiasts, however, know it as the habitat of several unique reptiles, all of which are now very rare or extinct. But we can delight in some news just released by the Durrell Wildlife Trust – a new population of the Round Island or Keel-scaled Boas, Casarea dussumieri, will soon be established in the wild. This unusual snake disappeared from nearly all of its range in the 1860’s, and its return is the culmination of 40 years’ worth of captive breeding and habitat restoration efforts.
Status and Conservation
The Round Island Boa is now confined to Round Island, a tiny speck of habitat where perhaps 500-1,000 individuals survive. A single wild population and limited number of captives place it at continued risk of extinction. The new population to be established on another Mauritian island (where the snake formerly lived) is a vital step towards ensuring the species’ survival. Read More »