• 137 specimens have been captured on Gran Canaria since 2017 to prevent this species from becoming consolidated on the island.

The Department of Environment, Climate, Energy and Knowledge of the Cabildo of Gran Canaria, through the company Territorial and Environmental Management and Planning (Gesplan), and in coordination with the Canary Islands Early Warning Network of Invasive Exotic Species (RedEXOS), have removed from the environment, between captures and specimens collected after citizen notices, a total of 137 Yemeni or veiled chameleons (Chamaeleo calyptratus) on Gran Canaria since 2017. This reptile is an invasive exotic species that is putting the ecological balance at risk and local biodiversity.


So far, there is evidence of an established population only in the municipality of Arucas, where control and possible eradication tasks are being carried out in order to prevent its expansion.

The Yemen chameleon has adapted extremely easily to this area of the island, as demonstrated by the fact that four specimens have been captured in a single day, three males and one female.

The introduction of the Yemen chameleon to Gran Canaria may have been due to its popularity in the exotic pet trade and, consequently, its accidental release or escape. For this reason, this species is monitored by the Canary Islands Early Warning Network for Invasive Exotic Species (RedEXOS) and is included in the list of invasive exotic species of concern for the Islands, so its possession, transport, trafficking, and trade is prohibited ( Royal Decree 216/2019).

Citizen collaboration is essential, through the different tools enabled by RedEXOS, such as the RedEXOS Gobcan App, the email redexos.medioambiente@gobiernodecanarias.org, or the mobile phone number 646 601 457. Citizens can use any of these means to notify any sighting of this species in the wild so that an intervention team can collect the specimens or know their location, data that will serve to guide the control work.

The work of Invasive Control against this invasive species

The Cabildo of Gran Canaria, through the public company Gesplan, has a team of personnel specialised in the control of invasive species. Weekly, the team searches different points of the island, according to careful planning, to detect this and other invasive species, both flora and fauna, as a control formula to prevent their dispersal or expansion.

Invasive Control is a project focused on the conservation of natural spaces and both plant and animal biodiversity on the island of Gran Canaria. Invasive exotic species present on the island are identified and prioritized, taking into account their impact on ecosystems and native species.