Christmas Island National Park is like nowhere else on earth, a unique oceanic island ecosystem with internationally significant biodiversity values.
The park protects the world’s most abundant and diverse range of land crabs, most notably tens of millions of red crabs, and is home to endemic wildlife only found on Christmas Island. Tens of thousands of seabirds nest in the rainforests, which also provide habitat for several species of endemic forest birds.
Christmas Island is an Australian Territory located in the Indian Ocean approximately 2,800 kilometres west of Darwin, 2,600 kilometres north-west of Perth and 500 kilometres south of Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia.
Sixty three percent of Christmas Island’s land mass is protected as Christmas Island National Park, a Commonwealth reserve managed by Parks Australia, and is also known as a natural wonder and the ‘Galapagos’ of the Indian Ocean.
While Christmas Island is of immense conservation significance, several species are under threat. There are 18 terrestrial species listed as threatened under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, with 17 of these being endemic species.
Christmas Island was once home to five endemic reptiles, but today it is quite possible that only one of these species survives in the wild. What is known is that small-island populations are hit hard by introduced pests and diseases.
Prior to the late 1880s, people rarely visited remote Christmas Island, and never permanently settled. But when people eventually did stay to mine the island’s phosphate, they brought with them a range of invasive hitchhikers. After millions of years evolving in isolation, the island’s endemic reptiles suddenly had company. Five new non-native reptiles arrived, among them the voracious wolf snake, as well as a cadre of other aggressors, including yellow crazy ants and giant centipedes.
With a successful captive breeding program established in 2009, the next step was to grow the project. Christmas Island National Park’s captive breeding facility, known as the Lizard Lodge, was built in 2014 as a safe place for the lizards, with enclosures free from predation and carefully furnished to make the inhabitants feel at home.
Since 2009, these captive populations have dramatically grown - the blue-tailed skink and Lister’s gecko populations have increased, safe from introduced predators like cats, centipedes and wolf snakes. The enclosures of the Lizard Lodge hold almost every blue-tailed skink and Lister’s gecko known to exist.
To find out more about the projects that FNPW and our supporters have funded since 2013 please visit our website.
New enclosures will help reptile populations can continue to grow and, once threats have been mitigated, they'll be released into the wild. Can you help us bring back two species of endemic Christmas Island reptile, Lister’s Gecko (Lepidodactylus listeri) and the Christmas Island blue-tailed skink (Cryptoblepharus egeriae), from the brink of extinction?
Your donation will directly contribute to:
The captive breeding program for native reptiles including additional construction of housing facilities.
Research projects to determine the threats leading to the decline of native reptiles.
Support of on-ground conservation programs designed to abate the threats leading to the decline of our threatened species.