By Fábia Azevedo
The Chameleon Project aims to raise the community’s awareness of the importance of the common chameleon (Chamaeleo chameleon) and its threats to contribute to its long-term conservation and to improve knowledge about the geographic distribution and biology of the species. These objectives will be accomplished through public awareness, a science-citizen campaign and scientific studies.
This project stems from the winning entry for the 2019 Youth Participative Budget Portugal (grants given by the Portuguese government), implemented by Vita Nativa (an NGO based in Olhão). The Chameleon Project brings together, as partners, the Portuguese Institute for Youth and Sports (IPDJ), the University of Algarve, the Institute for Nature and Florests Conservation (ICNF) and all the Eastern Algarve Municipalities (Loul., Faro, Olhão, Tavira, Castro Marim and Vila Real de Santo António).
In the first six months of work, the awareness campaign started on the main beaches of the eastern Algarve. This campaign, which will run until the end of September, has already reached around 500 people. It was also possible to improve the recovery conditions of injured chameleons within the Wildlife Research and Rescue Centre (RIAS). The science-citizen campaign kicked-off and we have already received more then 200 reports! This citizenscience campaign will help us to improve knowledge about the species distribution in Portugal.
In the coming months, the planning of the Chameleon Interpretation Centre will also be finalised. It will be located in Olhão, at Ria Formosa Natural Park. The awareness campaign taking place on the beaches will continue, as will data management and promotion of the sciencecitizen campaign.
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