The Round Island skink or Telfair's skink, is one of Mauritius’s remaining endemic reptiles. The reptile species on this Indian Ocean island have been devastated by habitat loss and introduced predators, and many have already become extinct. Durrell has been collaborating with the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation to help several Mauritian reptiles that are still fighting extinction.
Skinks are a large group of reptiles that resemble lizards but often have no obvious neck. They can shed their tails during fights or to escape from predators and then regenerate them. They dig burrows and eat a varied diet of seeds, fruits, insects and small lizards. They have even been known to eat their own offspring.
Although this species of skink was once numerous on Mauritius and its offshore islands, by the time Gerald Durrell visited in the 1970s they were confined to Round Island.
A restoration programme for Round Island and other islets such as Gunner’s Quoin and Ile aux Aigrettes has removed species such as goats and rabbits and replanted native vegetation. This has made it possible to translocate some skinks to other islands to establish new populations and help ensure their survival.
Durrell had a breeding programme for the species in Jersey in the past. Now a new colony has been established, forming part of an exhibit highlighting our work in Mauritius.
Other Vulnerable Animals