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Branson retreats in row over lemurs plan for eco-island (Eco news)

Branson retreats in row over lemurs plan for eco-island reported

It sounded like a bold move to conserve a species threatened with extinction.

When Sir Richard Branson announced plans to transport lemurs from breeding zoos around the world and release them on a pristine Caribbean island, his experts said it would be a perfect way to protect the primates and help them to breed.

However, conservationists were quick to warn that the imported creatures, with their voracious appetites, could wipe out much of the native flora and fauna on the island of Moskito.

After the warnings were highlighted in The Sunday Telegraph, the Virgin tycoon - who paid £10 million for the island - has backed down and agreed to keep the lemurs in large enclosures until further research is carried out into the impact their release would have.

The rare dwarf gecko (sphaerodactylus parthenopion) is said to be at particular risk from the "aggressive, omnivorous" lemurs. The world's smallest lizard, it is found only on Moskito and the neighbouring island of Virgin Gorda. Both are part of the British Virgin Islands, a British overseas territory with a population of only 22,000.


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