City officials have felled more than 100 trees so that a colony of lizards can get enough sun, it has emerged.
The lizards – common wall lizards, or Podarcis muralis – have had to give up their current home in the city of Stuttgart, Germany, to make way for new buildings.
But because of their unique DNA – half French and half Italian – they cannot be moved beyond the city limits, to preserve their unique genetic makeup.
So officials have had to create a new city habitat for the 500-strong community where they can keep to themselves and get enough sun.
Like all reptiles, the lizards rely on sun to warm their body enough for them to move around.
German media said that the move came after plans for a new residential area near the city’s Nordbahnhof rail hub.
An area in a valley in Stuttgart is now being prepared for them as a “substitute habitat”, which includes cutting down more than 100 trees to give them unshaded sun.
Local centre-right CDU politician Alexander Kotz, 52, is outraged, saying: “An estimated 150,000 lizards live in Stuttgart. It is absurd to intervene so massively in nature for a few hundred of them.”
But Sven Matis, 42, press spokesman for the city of Stuttgart, reportedly disagreed, saying: “Species protection is very strict. If we just killed these animals, it would be murder.”
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