Project Pondo

 

The Pondo Dwarf Chameleon (Bradypodion caffer) is known only to occur in the vicinity of Port St Johns, South Africa.  It is assessed as Endangered because of its extremely limited distribution, extent of occurrence measuring less than 5,000 km2 (1931 mi2), and threats to its habitat.  Little is known about this enigmatic dwarf chameleon’s ecology and population size as basic biological studies are sorely lacking.
Our goal is to purchase available land inhabited by the Pondo Dwarf Chameleon so that it may be set aside as a reserve for the species. Members of HCI have already surveyed various available patches and confirmed the species presence. Patches of habitat targeted for purchase have been carefully selected in order to maximize area protected while keeping an eye toward future corridor creation between patches. Corridors are crucial as they allow for gene flow among populations and therefore minimize the risk of inbreeding.  We hope to partner with local researchers on basic ecological studies of the species to better inform habitat restoration attempts of any acquired disturbed lands. To our knowledge, this would be the first ever chameleon-centric reserve in the world.

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