A review of the endemic chameleon genus Brookesia from Madagascar, and the rationale for its listing on CITES Appendix II
The chameleon genus Brookesia, with 26 species, is endemic to Madagascar. The main threats to Brookesia are habitat destruction and collection for trade. At the CITES Conference of Parties 12, held in Santiago, Chile in 2002, all but one Brookesia species were added to Appendix II, under which trade is controlled in order to avoid utilization being incompatible with species' survival. The Vulnerable B. perarmata was added to Appendix I, under which trade is permitted only in exceptional circumstances. Summary information for Brookesia is presented here, reviewing taxonomy, habitat preferences, available population estimates, relevant legislation, major threats, and trade levels. Brookesia live on or close to the ground, with roost sites mostly <1 m above ground. Density estimates are available for only a few species, with a mean density estimate for four species across sites and seasons of 16 individuals ha−1. A number of species have distinct altitudinal ranges, and a preference for primary forest. Continued deforestation will therefore potentially lead to extirpations. Research on population sizes and seasonal trends of Brookesia is required, without which, combined with data on the impacts of harvesting, the establishment of sustainable trade will not be possible. The apparent reduction and possible cessation of trade in B. perarmata following its listing on CITES indicates that the Convention can succeed in managing global trade in a threatened species.(Received July 8 2004)
(Revised January 4 2005)
(Accepted March 7 2005)
Key Words: Brookesia; chameleon; CITES; Madagascar; wildlife trade.
c1 Correspondence: Centre for Ecology, Evolution and Conservation, School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia, Norwich, NR4 7TJ, UK. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
p1 Also at: Institute of Zoology, Zoological Society of London, Regent's Park, London, NW1 4RY, UK