Term Paper: St. Croix Ground Lizard

Pages: 4 (1221 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1+  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Animals

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Green Cay NWR is a small island located off the north coast of St. Croix, consisting of dry, forested areas and small cobble beaches (USFWS, 2003). The island is a volcanic region where outcrops of lava, tuffs and breccias are common geologic features.

The introduction of the small Indian mongoose resulted in a serious threat to the survival of the St. Croix ground lizard. Rats often feed on terminal shoots of trees and shrubs during dry season. Over time, the forest will be destroyed, as well as critical habitat for the lizards. Therefore, an eradication program was introduced and rats were trapped and removed off the island.

Green Cay is a U.S. National Wildlife Refuge, but Protestant Cay is home to an active resort. Present threats in Protestant Cay are represented by habitat modification through beautification practices, including constant raking and undergrowth removal to attract tourists.

Conclusion

The future of the St. Croix ground lizard populations depends on these cays. Future threats to the species include the danger of accidental invasion of said cays by the mongoose, and the Ameivas vulnerability to natural catastrophes such as hurricanes, mainly due to their small size and reduced habitat area. An increase in human disturbance or habitat alteration at important habitats, resulting from recreational activities, could also harm the future of the lizards.

When the lizard was declared an endangered species in 1977, Green Cay was purchased by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and designated the Green Cay National Wildlife Refuge. This area currently provides protection for 14 of the 18 acres of designated Critical Habitat for the ground lizard. Plans include a retrapping effort to remove mongoose that remain after an intensive trapping effort on Buck Island, the proposed experimental release site of wild-caught lizards.

The main purpose of the Green Cay project is to maintain the natural island ecosystem and protect the endangered St. Croix ground lizard and colonial nesting birds. To accomplish this, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service uses rigid law enforcement and conducts wildlife surveys. In addition, it removes wildlife that poses danger to the endangered species.

Basically, as far as current and future efforts to protect this endangered species are concerned, the Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Park Service signed a cooperative agreement in 1982 for the National Park Service to provide protection to Green Cay National Wildlife Refuge. In addition, a mongoose eradication program is in the works at Buck Island Reef National Monument to provide an experimental release site for the St. Croix ground lizard.

The question of whether the St. Croix ground lizard will make it on this planet largely depends on human efforts to continue the species. Without help from humans, the St. Croix ground lizard would be extinct. However, it is important to remember that human interference with the natural habitat of the lizard was what caused it to be endangered in the first place. If we had not introduced the rats to the island and build new development on the lizards' habitat, it would have been able to continue living and breeding on the island.

Bibliography

Dodd, C., Jr. (1980). Ameiva polops Cope. St. Croix ground lizard. Catalogue of American Amphibians and Reptiles.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Association (UFWA). (February, 1992). Endangered and Threatened Species of the Southeastern United States (The Red Book) FWS Region.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Association Service. (2003). Green Cay National Wildlife Refuge General Information. Retrieved from the Internet at http://caribbean-ecoteam.fws.gov/green_cay_index.htm.

Urban, Val. (1977). Green Cay, National Wildlife Refuge. Refuge Facts.

Waltman, James. (July 30, 1997). S. 1059, The National… [END OF PREVIEW]

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St. Croix Ground Lizard.  (2003, April 26).  Retrieved December 11, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/st-croix-ground-lizard/9998359

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"St. Croix Ground Lizard."  Essaytown.com.  April 26, 2003.  Accessed December 11, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/st-croix-ground-lizard/9998359.