New hope for world’s rarest snake, Antiguan racer, thanks to conservationists’ efforts

Conservationists working in the West Indies have made incredible progress in saving the rarest snake on the planet, the Antiguan racer.

The population has dramatically climbed from just 50 individuals in the mid-nineties to over 500 today.

The ten-fold increase is due to the successful partnership of six local and international organisations that make up the Antiguan Racer Conservation Project.

“I am proud we proved the pessimists wrong, and turned the fortunes of this unique and endearing animal”, said Dr Jenny Daltry, FFI Senior Conservation Biologist. “Many people have contributed over the years, but special credit must go to the local volunteers. This success is a testament to their dedication.”

The initiative has carried out nation-wide environmental education, the removal of alien rats that attacked the snakes and a pioneering reintroduction programme. Remarkably, the snake conservation efforts have also benefited other native wildlife that share its habitat, with the number of birds having increased by 30-fold in 15 years.

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