In the eighties a completely new and rather large species of lizard was discoverd living quietly in the cliffs of La Merica mountain high above Valle Gran Rey. It caused quite s stir in the zoological world because the last reported sighting of the giant lizard Galliota Bravoana had been recorded almost one hundred years previously and the species was assumed to have become extinct. They can grow to more than three feet in lenght, the large specimens weighing more than ten pounds and live for more than fifty years.
A breeding and study station was built in the La Playa area of Valle Gran Rey and the reptiles were bred successfully in captivity. Island Connections.eu reports:
'' La Gomera's ongoing efforts to restore the island's native lizard population take a major step forward in the coming months with a special training programme to ensure the survival of more than a hundred lizards when they are released into the wild.
La Gomera - 20.10.2015 - The lizards were born under the Cabildo's captive breeding scheme, which was launched several years ago to increase the numbers of the under-threat native population, and they are due to be released onto rocks in various parts of the island. However, before that they will undergo "training" which will see them learn to recognise predators, including sparrow hawks, and they will be kept away from all human contact for up to six months to force them to fend for themselves at the breeding programme's premises, where a replica of the conditions they will encounter in the wild has been created. Carers at the facility say that there are high hopes for the current generation of young lizards, which are due for release in the spring once they complete their preparation. La Gomera's large lizards were on the verge of extinction until the authorities stepped in with the recovery programme, which has become a model for other parts of the world.''