The common chameleon is a vulnerable species. / sur

More chameleons released into the wild in Malaga to help preserve the species

This is still the mating season so environmentalists hope the pairs will breed, and are asking the public not to disturb the creatures if they spot any

ANABEL NIÑO

For more than a decade now Malaga’s Diversity Control Centre – which is part of the council’s Environmental Sustainability Department – has been fighting to preserve and protect the common chameleon as a species in the area by reintroducing them into different woodland areas such as Los Almendrales and the Cerrado de Calderón forestry park.

On Tuesday this week the project took another step forward when five more pairs were released, taking advantage of the fact that this is still the mating season, which runs from May to early October.

“We are hoping that they will mate and lay eggs because this species is vulnerable, even though it is not protected as being in danger of extinction,” explained Enrique Nadales, the head of the deparment’s Biodiversity section.

Careful decisions

The idea of doing this was first proposed in 2009, but it took two years to get the plan off the ground. Since then, nearly 900 chameleons have been released. The decision about where to release them has to be considered carefully and is based on their origins because the populations must not be varied. “We look at environmentally suitable factors for them such as the vegetation, the soil and the shade,” Nadales said.

Chameleons usually like spaces where there are bushes, with plenty of sunshine and with small flowering plants which attract insects on which they can feed. However, members of the public are asked not to disturb them if they happen to see any.

“We invite people to collaborate with us and let us know if any chameleon appears to be in danger. We have the expertise to look after them and return them to where they should be,” said the councillor for the Environment, Francisco Cantos.