Three reptile species go extinct in Australia

Three species of reptile on Christmas Island in Australia have been declared extinct in the wild, according to a study released on Tuesday. Lister's gecko (Lepidodactylus listeri), , the blue-tailed skink (Cryptoblepharus egeriae) and the Christmas Island forest-skink (Emoia nativitatis) were downgraded from "critically endangered" to "extinct in the wild" in the International Union for the Conservation of Nature's (IUCN) latest report. "The extinctions ... are an intriguing 'whodunnit', as their cause remains unclear," said John Woinarski, professor of conservation biology at Charles Darwin University in northern Australia. Populations of reptiles on Christmas Island, an Australian territory just south of Indonesia, have been declining rapidly since the 1970s, the IUCN said. Scientists tried in vain to establish a captive breeding programme for the forest skink and it has now been declared extinct in the wild. Lister's gecko and blue-tailed skink both have "well-established" captive breeding populations but are now also extinct in the wild. "In this case, the extent and severity of decline was revealed too late to save these Christmas Island reptiles," said Mr Woinarski.

The IUCN also sounded the alarm over the western ringtail possum (Pseudocheirus occidentalis), which was downgraded from vulnerable to critically endangered due to a fall in species numbers by 80 percent over the past 10 years.

Source: The Telegraph, Dec 5, 2017…