Jordan is real wizard with two rare lizards
HELPING to save an endangered species is a difficult job, even for the world's leading zoologists.
But a Lothians schoolboy is doing his bit for global biodiversity by attempting to breed a pair of rare iguanas in his family's garage.
Jordan Davidson, 14, has taken delivery of two Fiji banded iguanas, or brachylophus fasciatus, to give them their proper name.
The young reptile enthusiast is the first person in Scotland to own a breeding pair, and only the fourth in the whole of the UK.
Rhubarb and Custard, as they have been called, are now settling into their specially constructed home in the garage of the Davidson family home in Whitburn, West Lothian.
And they have company - over the past two years Jordan has collected everything from snakes and lizards to bearded dragons.
Jordan, who attends Whitburn Academy, says he was inspired by the late Australian naturalist Steve Irwin and other TV wildlife experts.
The iguanas, which cost 3000 to buy from a collector in Austria, were flown into Manchester Airport last week, where they were given the all clear by customs officials before being driven to Scotland.
"It's great to finally have them and they are just settling in at the moment, and getting their bearing in their new surroundings," said Jordan.
"I've been trying to get a pair for ages, and I was delighted when I managed to get sponsorship. They are vegetarian, which will make them a little easier to look after, and I've been getting advice from breeders around the word on how to breed them.
"That is the aim of getting them, and hopefully I will be able to hatch them out and then pass on the original pair to the zoo."
The emerald green creatures, known as "the most beautiful lizards on earth", are currently only on show in three zoos in Europe. Edinburgh Zoo chiefs are said to be keen to take Rhubarb and Custard if Jordan breeds them successfully.
The reptiles are one level below critical on the world's endangered species list. Their Fiji habitat is being destroyed, and numbers have been devastated by the introduction of new predators, particularly house cats, to the islands. Said to be shy, they grow to just over 80cm long, and have red/orange eyes, while adult males develop a distinctive blue band.
Not surprisingly, Jordan hopes to work with reptiles when he is older. His first lizard was a bearded dragon, and two years on he has 25 baby dragons, 20 hatchlings and 27 eggs in the incubator, not to mention blue-tongued skinks, bosc monitors, veiled chameleons and a royal python.
Jordan's father, Charlie, 50, an HR consultant, said he and his wife encourage their son's hobby, but would only go so far.
"The first mention of Komodo dragons and Jordan is up for adoption," he joked. "He has become so enthusiastic about this, first with the bearded dragons and now the iguanas. We initially had to say no because of the cost, but he didn't moan, he just went out and found the sponsorship to pay for the animals. They are very small, sleek little things, and they are also a species classified as endangered, so if Jordan can breed them successfully then he will have helped to preserve the species."
Michael Bishop, of Dalmatian Windows in East Kilbride, which provided most of the sponsorship money for the deal, said: "We get a lot of requests for sponsorship, but this one was very different, very unusual and we thought very worthwhile. We try our best to be environmentally friendly here, and this seemed a good way to hep protect an endangered species."
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Tuesday 18 June 2013
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