Algarve chameleon in the spotlight in Castro Marim

Castro Marim market is hosting an exhibition showcasing photos of chameleons, a lizard species which in Portugal is only found in the Algarve, along with some interesting information about these peculiar animals.

The exhibition – entitled ‘Conhecer o Camaleão’ (Getting to Know the Chameleon) – will remain on display until April 30 and can be visited every day between 9am and 1pm and 2.30pm and 5.30pm.

It is part of ‘Projeto Camaleão’ (Project Chameleon), which has three main goals: “to raise awareness about the importance of chameleon conservation; to expose threats to chameleons in order to minimise them; and to improve knowledge about the geographic distribution and biology of the species by promoting scientific work.”

Castro Marim Council says it has been working towards these goals by protecting local dunes through a series of “ecological and sustainable projects” as well as the completion of a project to “safeguard the dunes of Altura beach”, which, it says, is “essential to the preservation of coastal ecosystems”.

Projeto Camaleão was the winning idea of the 2019 edition of Orçamento Participativo Jovem Portugal, a national budget that allows young citizens to pitch and vote for their own ideas.

The project is developed by Associação Vita Nativa, with financing from IPDJ (Portuguese Institute of Sports and Youth), and features several partners, including Castro Marim Council.

The association’s website details five objectives that the project would like to carry out, starting with the creation of a ‘Chameleon Interpretation Centre’ and the development of an environmental awareness campaign on the Eastern Algarve coast. Other aims are to promote a citizen science campaign for better knowledge about the species distribution, contribute to the development of academic studies on the species and improve chameleon recovery conditions at Olhão’s wildlife rehabilitation centre RIAS.

In fact, citizens who spot a chameleon can report their findings online (www.vitanativa.org/camaleao), send the info by email (camaleao@vitanativa.org) or via the association’s social media pages.

michael.bruxo@algarveresident.com