Rare animal believed to be ‘extinct’ is miraculously found in the wild: ‘This is an amazing discovery!’
- Dreaded Extinct Aussie Reptile Found Alive
- Animal last seen alive in 1969
A population of critically endangered earless Victorian grassland dragons believed to be extinct in the wild has been rediscovered.
The ‘energetic’ reptile, measuring just 6 inches from head to tail, had not been seen since 1969 and was once widespread in native grasslands west of Melbourne, but numbers were dwindling due to habitat loss and predation.
On Sunday, Victorian Environment Minister Ingrid Stitt announced that a surviving population of the species – the location of which is being kept secret – had been found.
The little dragon is light brown with three white stripes running down and several dark bands running down its body. Photo: Victoria Zoos.
“This is an amazing discovery and gives us the chance to recover a species that was once lost to our state and the world,” said Ms Stitt.
Zoos Victoria had been actively searching for the dragon since 2017 and are now planning a plan to ensure the survival of the species.
Chief executive Dr Jenny Gray described finding the reptile in the wild as ‘extraordinary’.
“The extraordinary rediscovery of this critically endangered and cryptic lizard inspires optimism for the recovery of this Victorian species,” she said.
She said Melbourne Zoo had years of developing expertise through a breeding recovery program using populations from the ACT and NSW, and would now establish a conservation breeding program to ensure the species is not lost again.
On Sunday, Victorian Environment Minister Ingrid Stitt announced that a surviving population of the species — the location of which is being kept secret — had been found
Announcing a $180,000 joint investment with the federal government to try out specially trained sniffer dogs to search for other existing wild populations, Ms. Stitt said the discovery was an opportunity to restore a species once thought to be lost. Was considered.
“With the help of our partners, we will continue to fight the extinction of this critically endangered species – so that future generations can see and learn about this incredibly unique lizard,” she said.