Chameleon trade and conservation in Madagascar


Principal Investigator: Professor Richard Griffiths
Project dates: 1 May 2009-30 April 2012
Funding: Darwin Initiative: £249,225
Collaborators: Madagasikara Voakajy; IUCN; University of Antananarivo

There are at least 76 species of chameleon on Madagascar that occur nowhere else in the world. These enigmatic lizards are suffering from widespread habitat loss, and are also highly prized within the pet trade. This project is investigating whether the sustainable use of key species is possible and achievable.
Professor Richard Griffiths with a chamaleon
To support this, we are conducting scientific research on the ecology, density and habitat use of priority chameleon species. This is complemented by work investigating demand and trade in both Madagascar and consumer countries. The project is also developing capacity and resources for the CITES authorities in Madagascar to provide strong scientific justification for commercial export of chameleons. Our principal partner is Madagasikara Voakajy, and the project works closely with the Malagasy government, IUCN, Conservation International and the Department of Animal Biology at the University of Antananarivo.
This partnership is also working to conserve and protect the most threatened chameleon species from extinction. This involves working with local communities, government and protected area management to reduce destruction of key chameleon habitat and any illegal collection for the pet trade.