Potential distribution and effectiveness of the protected area network for the crocodile lizard, Shinisaurus crocodilurus (Reptilia: Squamata: Sauria).
SALAMANDRA 50 (2): 71-76.
The crocodile lizard, Shinisaurus crocodilurus Ahl, 1930, is a monotypic taxon, restricted in occurrence to southern China and northern Vietnam. Wild populations are presently suffering tremendous declines, mainly due to illegal poaching, habitat destruction, and fragmentation, which already led to the extinction of populations in Guangxi and Hunan provinces in China. In order to accelerate the discovery of so far unknown populations of S. crocodilurus and to identify suitable priority areas for conservation strategies, we determined the species’ potential distribution using correlative species distribution models (SDMs) based on locality records and a set of satellite-based environmental predictors.
In addition, we evaluated the coverage of the species’ potential distribution with designated protected areas according to IUCN standards. The resulting SDM revealed potentially suitable habitats to be scattered and disconnected while being very small in size. Moreover, present coverage with nature reserves is extremely poor, underlining the urgent need for improved habitat protection measures and potential population restoration of S. crocodilurus.