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Daily News Analysis

Ibiza wall lizard, Gran Canaria reptiles, Copiapoa cacti

10th July, 2024 Environment

Ibiza wall lizard, Gran Canaria reptiles, Copiapoa cacti

Source: Down to Earth

Disclaimer: Copyright infringement not intended.


  • The new update on the Red List of threatened species shows that reptiles and cacti are under threats from invasive species and rampant trade in wildlife, which calls for special protection.


Key points:

  • The update of IUCN Red List shows the dangers of invasive species and species trade.
  • The wall lizard (Podarcis pityusensis) was previously considered as least concern, but the recently introduced horseshoe whip snake (Hemorrhois hippocrepis) threatens it and therefore it has been reconsidered as endangered.
  • Gran Canaria giant lizard (Gallotia stehlini) and Gran Canaria skink (Chalcides sexlineatus) are now on the endangered list because of the California kingsnake (Lampropeltis californiae).
  • Contraband trade endangers 82% of Copiapoa cacti species that are now critically endangered compared to the 55% in 2013.
  • Recommended actions: global cooperation, growing houses as a means of providing sustainable solutions.

Key Highlights of the Report:

  • The IUCN reports drastic population loss and change of status of some species to endangered.
  • Predation by invasive species like, Horseshoe whip snake and California kingsnake are a real menace to its survival.
  • The illicit business in Copiapoa cacti is a graven threat due to high ornamental value.
  • Anthropogenic factors such as climate change affect threats to cacti by altering occurrence factors like oceanic fog.
  • To address these threats, timely globalization and sustainable production methods are advised.

About the endangered species:


Ibiza Wall Lizard (Podarcis pityusensis)

Gran Canaria Reptiles (Gallotia stehlini & Chalcides sexlineatus)

Copiapoa Cacti


Reptile (Lizard)

Reptiles (Lizards)

Plant (Cactus)


Rocky walls, stone piles in Ibiza, Spain

Volcanic rock habitats, Canary Islands, Spain

Atacama Desert, Chile


Small, up to 8 cm (3.1 in) snout-to-vent length

Gallotia stehlini: Large, up to 75 cm (30 in) total length; Chalcides sexlineatus: Small, legless lizard

Up to 50 cm (20 in) tall, various shapes (cylindrical, globular)

Conservation Status


Endangered (both species)

82% of species Critically Endangered


Invasive horseshoe whip snake

Introduced California kingsnake

Illegal trade, habitat loss, climate change

Special Features

Varies in color (brown, gray, green), can detach tail

Gallotia stehlini: Largest lizard in the Canary Islands; Chalcides sexlineatus: No legs

Spines, waxy bloom for protection, slow-growing

International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN):




Gland, Switzerland


To conserve nature and ensure the sustainable and equitable use of natural resources.


Initially focused on conservation ecology.

Now includes sustainable development issues.


Influences governments, businesses, and stakeholders.

Known for the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

IUCN Red List:

  • Foremost Global Resource:
    • Estimates the probability of species’ extinction for animals, fungi and plants on a global level.
  • Accessibility:
    • Public and universal, it is one of the world’s most essential bio-diversity health check
  • Comprehensive Insights:
    • Provides specific data on species’ attributes, dangers, and protection efforts.
    • Helps in making the decisions about the conservation of species and policy-making.
  • Categories of Extinction Risk:
    • Nine categories from NE (Not Evaluated) to EX (Extinct).
    • These are the threatened categories: Critically Endangered (CR), Endangered (EN) and Vulnerable (VU).
  • Indicator for Global Targets:
    • SDG and Aichi Targets’ headline indicator.
  • IUCN Green Status of Species:
    • Evaluates how effective the recovery and conservation processes are regarding species’ populations.
    • Includes eight categories: Among these, EW (Extinct in the Wild), CR (Critically Endangered), LR/cd (Least Concern/Conservation Dependent), MOD (Moderately Depleted), SL (Stable), FR (Fluctuating Range), ND (Not Determined) and ID (Insufficient Data).
  • Conservation Impact:
    • Assesses the conservation actions for the impact on species’ Red List


Down to Earth


Q. With reference to the conservation of biodiversity, which of the following statements is/are correct?

1.In-situ conservation focuses on protecting species within their natural habitat.

2.Ex-situ conservation involves the preservation of endangered species in zoos and botanical gardens.

3.Both IUCN and CITES play a role in promoting in-situ conservation efforts.

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 1 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

Answer: (d)