Protecting threatened Over-seas biodiversity

IUCN publishes red list of wildlife in Martinique

In April 2020, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) published “the red list of endangered species in France” for the fauna of Martinique, demonstrating in particular that out of the 427 native species evaluated in Martinique, nearly 15 % appear to be threatened.

Lesser Antillean iguana, White-breasted trasher, Green turtle © Florent BIGNON / Frantz DELCROIX

In summary
The analyzes were carried out by IUCN, the French Office of Biodiversity (OFB) and the National Museum of Natural History (MNHN) on different groups of species, birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, molluscs, macro – freshwater crustaceans, fish, dragonflies, moths and beetles.
In total, more than 15 species have already disappeared, 62 are threatened and 56 are almost threatened.
Of the most endangered species, 14 are critically endangered (CR), the stage before their extinction in the wild in Martinique. Among them, 4 species of birds, the Wilson’s Plover, The American oystercatcher, the Ringed Kingfisher or the White-breasted trasher; 3 species of terrestrial reptiles, the Lacépède’s Ground Snake, the Lesser Antillean iguana and the Greater Martinique skink ; 1 amphibian, the Martinique volcano frog ; 1 species of sea turtle, the Green turtle and 5 species of terrestrial and freshwater molluscs.
In addition, 19 species are classified as endangered (EN) including 11 species of birds such as the Blue-headed Hummingbird; 1 terrestrial reptile, the Martinique lancehead ; 1 freshwater fish, 1 moth and 4 species of freshwater and land molluscs.

The impact of man
Species are mainly impacted by the destruction of their habitats linked to urbanization and human occupation of the territory, which are constantly expanding urban areas and increasing road infrastructure at the expense of natural areas.
Pollution remains a major threat to freshwater, rivers and ponds, in particular through the discharge of wastewater and the old or current use of pesticides used in certain agricultural plots. Light pollution also has a strong impact on bats, insects and sea turtles, disoriented by artificial lights.
Various human activities also participate in the decline of populations of certain species, hunting, fishing, poaching, tourist activities if the latter lack supervision and control.
As on many islands, the voluntary or involuntary introduction of species such as the black rat or the small Indian mongoose have impacts on the native species of Martinique. This is indeed the case for the White-breasted trasher, present on the Caravelle Peninsula and whose eggs are predated by the black rat.

What happens next?
Obtaining such a document on the island will make it possible to prioritize the actions to be implemented on wildlife in Martinique but also to obtain funding to carry out new conservation programs. Some programs are based on the criteria for assessing species to finance protection projects. This is the case of the LIFE program of the European Union which provides funding for conservation projects targeting species evaluated by IUCN on a national and global scale and whose conservation statuses are CR, critically endangered or EN, endangered.

Martinique, paradise of biodiversity

The island has more than 2,200 wetlands such as ponds, ponds and mangroves, 48 ​​islets on which many species of seabirds nest, 161 rivers. In addition, more than 50% of the territory is covered by forest. Considering its surface, Martinique shelters diversified natural environments and presents a rate of endemism of 13% therefore many species living only on the territory.