In Australia, a population of Victorian Earless Prairie Dragons, a species of lizard last seen in 1969, have now been rediscovered in the wild. These rare reptiles, which reach 15 centimeters in length, are often referred to as dragon lizards.
They were once the most common in the grass prairies of West Melbourne, Australia, but over the years they became extinct due to habitat loss. They also faced predators like foxes and stray cats.
Now, "survivors" of these believed-to-be-extinct lizards have been rediscovered. Australian media reported that the Ministry of the Environment stated that, "this is an amazing discovery that gives us the opportunity to bring back these rare species that were already considered extinct and lost. With the help of our partners, we will continue to fight the extinction of this critically endangered species - to ensure that future generations can see and learn about this unique lizard."
Ongoing search for a species in hiding
Wildlife Conservation Victoria has been actively searching for these dragons since 2017. Their CEO, Dr. Jenny Gray, was thrilled with their success in finding it
"The extraordinary rediscovery of this critically endangered lizard gives us optimism for the recovery of this Victorian species," she said.
Some good news for your Sunday. This little guy is a Victorian grassland earless dragon.One hasn’t been seen in Victoria for over 50 years and was thought to be extinct in the wild - until now. pic.twitter.com/jtOyTe2JHx— Tanya Plibersek (@tanya_plibersek) June 25, 2023
The exact location where the lizards were found is being kept a secret for the time being to protect the species and their habitats. Now, the conservation organization in Victoria is currently working on rebuilding special habitats for the lizards to keep them from predators and make sure they don't become extinct again.