The tiny, colorful gecko that has a troop of Caribbean islanders protecting it from extinction

  • Gemma Handy
  • Saint John, Antigua

Union Island Rangers

image source, Courtesy Roxanne Froget


Union Island rangers are trained to protect the region’s flora and fauna.

A group of rangers on Union Island in the Caribbean wear fatigues, combat boots and self-defense training, ready for battle.

But his attitude is not warlike. Quite the opposite. They are on a mission to protect one of the world’s tiniest species – so rare that It only exists in an area of ​​barely 50 hectares, in a remote corner of one of the smallest islands in the region.

This is the Union Island gecko – part of the nation of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines – a reptile the size of a paper clip that is critically endangered and faces a devious enemy: poachers.

After being officially discovered in 2005, this particular creature became a prized souvenir among collectors captivated by its colorful, gem-marked skin, earning it the dubious prestige of being the most trafficked reptile in the Eastern Caribbean.

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