Rare, endangered species found on region's solar farm
CALLING the vast dry and torrid terrain of the Darling Downs home, the Condamine Earless Dragon was feared to have been extinct until the early 2000s.
The lizard is a rare and endangered species whose fledgling population and dwindling prospects of survival were boosted when a 10-year-old boy from Bongeen brought the reptile to the Queensland Museum, setting the wheels in motion for the revival of a species.
Where it is now calling home, it can be revealed, is the Oakey Solar Farm.
Canadian Solar, who owns the multi-million dollar project on Toowoomba's outskirts, confirmed that a number of the rare species native to a small area on the Darling Downs have been found and relocated from its expanding construction site.
In a statement to The Chronicle, Canadian Solar said it had located nine dragons, that the project has not been delayed as a result of the discovery and that construction could continue on the land they were found on.
The Department of Environment and Science said it has not yet been alerted about the find by the company.
Classified as an endangered species under state and national legislation, the government considers the tiny reptile to be a high priority when it comes to national conservation efforts.
Paula Halford, who helped spear-head a 10-year-long campaign to have the Condamine Earless Dragon officially identified as a species, said the 12cm lizard's survival was vital to the region's ecology.
"It's part of the whole ecological mix so if it goes that effects other species," she said.
"It's good to have a strong population in the area ... everything has to live together and it is an important part of the food chain.
"If you let one thing die what else will go? We don't know how it will effect the future of other animals (if it becomes extinct)."