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Antigua and Barbuda

Where Atlantic & Caribbean meet


The twin island state of Antigua and Barbuda lies in the Lesser Antilles, a chain of islands in the Caribbean Sea. With a beach for every day of the year, Antigua is a magnet for tourists, attracting over a million visitors annually. This massive contributor to the local economy comes at an environmental cost. Coastal development on the main islands of Antigua and neighbouring Barbuda has had a negative impact on natural habitat. Most of the country’s forests were cleared during the colonial era. This period also saw the introduction of alien invasive species – such as ship rats and mongooses – that proved catastrophic for native wildlife.

Fortunately, many of the country’s smaller offshore islands have remained relatively unscathed. These have become essential refuges for native species, many of which have been driven to extinction on the Antigua mainland.

What wildlife does Antigua and Barbuda support?

Antigua’s offshore islands support the entire world population of the critically endangered Antiguan racer, as well as key populations of the endemic Antiguan ground lizard, globally important seabird colonies, nesting sea turtles and other threatened species such as the white-crowned pigeon and West Indian whistling duck. Almost two-thirds of Antigua and Barbuda’s snake and lizard species are found nowhere else in the world.

Magnificent frigatebird fledgling © Edward Marshall / Fauna & Flora

Magnificent frigatebird fledgling © Edward Marshall / Fauna & Flora

Our work in Antigua and Barbuda

Fauna & Flora and our partners have been championing Antigua’s endemic species since 1995, when we helped rescue the Antiguan racer from extinction. Then the world’s rarest snake, it was clinging to survival on one tiny, rat-infested islet. Since we intervened to remove the rodents and reintroduce the snakes to other offshore islands, Antiguan racer numbers have recovered dramatically.

Other native wildlife has benefited enormously from this work. Indigenous plants have spread, while nesting seabird populations have increased by as much as thirtyfold. Residents and tourists also reap the rewards of rat-free islands.

Several other offshore islands have also been restored to their former glory by removing invasive species. The 60-hectare island of Redonda, located 50 km west of Antigua, has been transformed from a slab of bare rock into a thriving haven for rare reptiles and seabirds since non-native rats and goats were removed.

We continue to support the Environmental Awareness Group, the Antiguan Forestry Unit and other key local partners in Antigua through the Offshore Islands Conservation Programme. Fauna & Flora works closely with our Caribbean alliance partners Re:wild on many of our projects in Antigua and the wider region.

More about our work in Antigua and Barbuda

Thirty islands restored in 30 years
Sunset over the cliffs of Redonda. © Edward Marshall / Fauna & Flora

Thirty islands restored in 30 years

Fauna & Flora and partners have now restored 30 Caribbean islands, saving over a dozen species from extinction in the pr...
Redonda Restoration Programme

Redonda Restoration Programme

In 2016 Fauna & Flora and partners began taking steps to restore Redonda’s extraordinary biodiversity.
Antiguan racer
Antiguan racer. © Jenny Daltry / Fauna & Flora

Antiguan racer

Discover how Fauna & Flora and our partners brought the world's rarest snake back from the brink of extinction.