Telfair’s skinks, also known as Round Island skinks, were once found across Mauritius and its many offshore islands.  

When Gerald Durrell first visited Mauritius in the 1970s, Telfair’s skinks were only surviving on Round Island, one of Mauritius’ offshore islands. In 1976 it was estimated that only about 4000 skinks remained. Durrell’s work with the Telfair’s skink, and the restoration of Round Island, led to a population increase of over 1000% within the last 40 years. Skinks have now been translocated from Round Island to other Mauritian islands. 


Telfair's Skink at Jersey Zoo
Animal facts

Key facts about the Telfair's skink

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I’m only found on Mauritius' offshore islands 

Telfair’s skinks can now be found on three Mauritian islands: Round Island, Gunner’s Quoin and Île aux Aigrettes.

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My population declined due to invasive species 

Non-native species destroyed vegetation on Mauritius and its offshore islands. They also hunted the native reptile species for food.  

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I can shed my tail to escape predators 

Skinks can shed their entire tail and it will regrow. They often do this during fights or to escape predators. 


estimated wild population


skinks first reintroduced on Île aux Aigrettes


removal of invasive species from Round Iisland

Our conservation work

What we're doing to help Telfair's skinks

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Removing invasive species

The introduction of non-native species to Round Island and other Mauritian offshore islands caused severe habitat loss for Telfair’s skinks. Goats and rabbits heavily impacted the plant life and soil, which resulted in hardly any habitat being available for Telfair’s skinks and other reptiles on the island.
What we're doing to help
Invasive goats and rabbits were removed from Round Island by the 1980s, which led to the slow regeneration of the island’s native vegetation. The success of removing these invasive species from Round Island led to other non-native species like rats, hares and mice being removed from other islands, allowing vegetation to thrive across Mauritius’s offshore islands. Biosecurity practices continue to stop the reintroduction of invasive species to Round Island, Gunner’s Quoin and Île aux Aigrettes, protecting Telfair’s skinks and other species from avoidable threats.
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Restoring the ecosystem

Habitat loss led to the decline, or complete disappearance, of several species from Mauritian islands. This disrupted the natural ecosystems on the islands.
What we're doing to help
Telfair’s skinks were translocated from Round Island to two more of Mauritius’s offshore islands, Île aux Aigrettes and Gunner’s Quoin. On Île aux Aigrettes, the skinks hunt musk shrews and wolf snakes, two non-native, invasive species which are impacting other smaller reptiles, allowing the recovery of the whole reptile population on the island. On Gunner’s Quoin, once a robust and sustainable population of Telfair’s skinks was established, the endangered Round Island boa was reintroduced to the island in 2012. The Round Island boa is a natural predator of the skinks, and with careful population management and monitoring, both species are now able to thrive on the island in their natural and ecologically important predator-prey relationship.
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Population management

With only one population of Telfair’s skinks left on Round Island, there was a risk Telfair’s skinks would go extinct due to lack of genetic diversity and geographical range.
What we're doing to help
Once the Telfair's skink population on Round Island started to grow significantly, some were translocated to the islands of Gunner’s Quoin and Île aux Aigrettes. To ensure a healthy population, we helped to establish head-starting programmes to boost population numbers. Head-starting is a conservation technique where young animals are raised in captivity until they have reached a life stage or size where they are less vulnerable to predators or other threats and are then released into the wild. This protects them through their most vulnerable life stages and gives them a “head start” in life, hence the name. It also allows us to monitor the health of the population before they are released.

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