About the project

The Extinct or Shy project was idealised in 2019 as an initiative to sample areas where species not seen in decades were supposed to still exist. As the name suggests, “Extinct or Shy” addresses the question of whether the species are still in those areas or they have gone extinct.

Montane Skink (Proscelotes aenea) photographed alive for the first time. The picture was taken during our Extinct or Shy project. Photo by Ali Puruleia
Click here to assess our page on the Rufford’s Foundation Website

In 2020 we received the good news that the Rufford Foundation liked our project to sample the area of Lumbo in Northern Mozambique where two data deficient species of legless skinks endemic to this area, Scolecoseps boulengeri and Proscelotes aenea, are expected to occur. These skinks were last seen in Lumbo in 1928, 103 years ago!

Therefore, in our study we plan to assess the existence of these two species in Lumbo and sequence their DNA for the first time. Finding these species is expected to have high conservation implications and contribute significantly to the understanding of their genetic diversity.

The team in the field holding a Montane Skink not previously seen in over 103 years.
Sampling sites in Lumbo

We work together with students from Lúrio University and they placed 5 trapping systems across Lumbo and have been checking the traps everyday. The students share the photos of every finding and they get uploaded to our instagram page: eos_lumbo.