Assessing the conservation status of a poorly known endemic lizard in Nigeria

Lotanna Micah Nneji

The Ondo forest gecko (Cnemaspis petrodroma) is a poorly known lizard species endemic to Nigeria. It lives in forest and rocky areas of the Idanre Hills (UNESCO World Heritage Site) in southwestern Nigeria. The habitats of the Ondo forest gecko are currently threatened due to ongoing logging of the Idanre Hills, bush burning, and habitat destruction arising from agricultural activities. To date, there is no information on the distribution pattern, conservation status, and ecological requirement of this species. Thus, this species is classified as 'Data Deficient' by the IUCN. Thus, baseline information is needed to infer the best conservation approach and to develop an action plan for the species. With the ongoing threats and rarity of this lizard, there is an urgent need to develop conservation measures for this species and its habitats. In this project, we aim to collect the first systematic dataset on the status of the Ondo forest gecko using field surveys and species distribution modelling. With this information, we shall involve local stakeholders for the development of a Species Conservation Action Plan as well as provide the appropriate category of risk for the IUCN Red List. Finally, we will promote conservation awareness in focal communities of Idanre where the Ondo forest gecko occurs. Furthermore, we will continue our campaign for sustainable protection and management of the Idanre Hills and associated species.