A critically endangered gecko hatched at a British zoo and sparked hopes the species could be revived is — the size of a THUMBNAIL.
The turquoise blue gecko originates from Tanzania but hatched at Bristol Zoo after it’s parents were rescued from smugglers.
The tiny gecko is only 20 mm long and is a perfect miniature of its mum and dad.
The species is so rare it is found in only two places in the East African country and it’s habitat is being rapidly destroyed by deforestation.
Despite being protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, the geckos are sold on the blackmarket to be kept as pets.
Last year 165 turquoise dwarf geckos were seized at Heathrow Airport by Border Force officers – including the baby gecko’s parents.
Zookeepers are hopeful the dainty lizard could kick-start a ‘recovery’ of the species if a breeding programme can be set up.
For two months it was kept in incubation at 25C at Bristol Zoo, where it’s parents were rehomed.
When the baby gecko is big enough it will join it’s parents at the reptile house at Bristol zoo.
It is not yet known what sex the gecko is as their colour does not become apparent until they are a few months old.
Only the male geckos are blue, and are an amazing iridescent shade.
In the 180-year history of the zoo, only two turquoise blue geckos have ever been born there.
Curator of reptiles and amphibians at Bristol Zoo Tim Skelton said: “This is a really significant event because their habitat is being destroyed during logging and many have been over collected for the pet trade as this baby’s parents were.
“If we can establish a genuine ex-situ breeding programme, we can begin to manage their recovery.”