In the mid-1990s there were only 50 Antiguan racer snakes left in the wild. Scientists discovered a small colony on Great Bird Island, off the coast of Antigua, and realised that they were in danger of becoming extinct. A conservation programme was quickly launched, and 15 years later it is celebrating its success.

It appears that two species introduced to the island by humans – the mongoose and the black rat – were responsible for the decline of the Antiguan racer snake. Humans also played their own part, as the defenceless snakes were wrongly seen as a threat.

By raising awareness of the snakes, ...


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