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Published on January 18, 2024
Zoo Atlanta Aids Guatemalan Beaded Lizard Conservation, Embarks on Species-Replenishing MissionSource: Zoo Atlanta

In a bid to forestall the extinction of one of the world's most endangered lizards, Zoo Atlanta has overseen the successful hatching and subsequent transfer of 11 Guatemalan beaded lizards back to their native environment. According to FOX 5 Atlanta, this eclectic group, composed of three males and eight females, will bolster a breeding colony aimed at replenishing the species' dwindling numbers. Native to Guatemala's Motagua Valley, these lizards number at a perilous count of 500 to 600.

The transaction, which took place on Jan. 10, is part of a collaborative effort between Zoo Atlanta and the Guatemalan government, persisting for over a quarter of a century. Now living in Zoológico Nacional La Aurora, with the goal of continuing the breeding program, these stealthy subterranean creatures feed primarily on bird and reptile eggs. As their population is threatened by habitat destruction and unfounded fears of danger they purportedly pose to humans, ongoing partnerships with local landowners have become critical to conservation efforts, helping to protect these lizards and aiming to rehabilitate their natural habitat.

Zoo Atlanta's commitment to conservation has led to the hatching of 41 of these rare lizards since the program's inception, as WSB-TV reported. Educative measures and community outreach have significantly reduced killings based on fear. Collaborating local landowners have pledged to continue their support for these measures, focusing on areas surrounding the fully protected Reserva Natural Heloderma.

While this conservation milestone marks a step forward, the Guatemalan beaded lizards continue to fight for survival against increasingly adverse odds. These lizards, crucial to the delicate balance of their ecosystem, are not a threat to humans. As they prepare for release into the wild, the hope is for them to thrive in areas where their habitat is being restored. The offspring of the beaded lizards, after a stringent quarantine, will be released into the wild from Zoológico Nacional La Aurora, with the objective to repopulate areas once robbed of this unique species.

Public interest in the plight of the Guatemalan beaded lizards has been on the rise, with Zoo Atlanta offering the opportunity to observe these rare creatures firsthand. The zoo's Scaly Slimy Spectacular exhibit remains a window into the lives of these and other reptilian species, serving as an educational platform for visitors to learn about the importance of biodiversity and conservation efforts.

Atlanta-Real Estate & Development