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Saint Lucia racer, Maria Major. Credit: Jeremy Holden / Fauna & Flora

Saint Lucia racer, Maria Major. Credit: Jeremy Holden / Fauna & Flora

Saint Lucia racer project


This project is working to save the Saint Lucia racer, which is probably now the world’s rarest snake. Having been wiped out from mainland Saint Lucia, this harmless species is now wholly confined to one nine-hectare island managed by the Forestry Department and Saint Lucia National Trust. Surveys in 2012 estimated there were fewer than 20 individuals on Maria Major island, prompting Fauna & Flora, Durrell and our national partners to devise a recovery plan that aims to increase the world population to 500 by 2025.

To achieve this, the project team is protecting Maria Major from invasive species such as rats, opossums and mongooses (which would eat the snakes and the lizard prey they depend on) and restoring other sites where the critically endangered racers can be safely reintroduced. Upcoming actions include establishing a captive-breeding programme on Saint Lucia and creating the country’s first ‘mainland island’ — a large forested area surrounded by a pest-proof fence in which racers and other threatened wildlife can be conserved effectively and be enjoyed by locals and tourists alike.

We are grateful for financial support from the Disney Conservation Fund, the Species Fund, the US Fish & Wildlife Service and the United States Agency for International Development.