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Herpetological Conservation International (HCI) is on a mission; a mission to save the endangered Pondo Dwarf Chameleon. This species is at risk due to its limited range. As the available habitat continues to shrink due to development in the Wild Cost region of South Africa’s Eastern Cape, HCI is looking to purchase available land that has been identified as the home of this wonderful chameleon species.
The goal is to maintain an environment that would protect the Pondo Dwarf Chameleon from extinction, and may be the first attempt to create a reserve specifically to save a chameleon.
Pondo Dwarf Chameleon Current Habitat
The Pondo Dwarf Chameleon is limited to a very specific area near Port St Johns, South Africa. The land is currently unprotected, leaving it open to development or use for agricultural purposes, a common threat due to increased urbanization in the area.
The area being sought for purchase is part of the Wild Cost, a section in the Eastern Cape region of South Africa. The environment is known as “Afrotropical,” referring to the unique coastal forest properties. Currently, the eco-region is considered endangered by both the IUCN and WWF.
The Goals of Project Pondo
HCI intends to purchase available land that is known to be inhabited by the Pondo Dwarf Chameleon. This allows the land to be set aside, creating a safe reserve for these wonderful creatures to thrive. Surveys have been completed to ensure that the targeted properties are currently inhabited by the chameleon, ensuring each purchase provides a benefit to the species.
As land is secured, the hope is to partner with local researches to perform various ecological studies. These studies would allow participants to be better informed regarding the species needs, and will aid in any habitat restoration attempts.
Other Benefiting Species
The region is also host to a number of other endangered animal species. The species would also benefit from the purchase and preservation of the land:
- Giant Golden Mole
- Samango Monkey
- Spotted Ground Thrush
- Cape Parrot
- Pondoland Cannibal Snail
- Pondo Flat-Necked Shieldback
- Transkei Shieldback
- Castleton’s Flightless Katydid
The reserve would also help the endangered Pondo Weeping Thorn.
To complete this ambitious mission, HCI is looking to raise the required project budget of $50,000. HCI is a registered 501c(3) public charity. All donations made to the cause re tax deductible per federal law.
Would You Like to Help Save the Pondo Dwarf Chameleon?
If you would like to help Project Pondo reach their goal, see their Member Plant campaign page.