Savana Island, United States Virgin Islands

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Savana Island, United States Virgin Islands

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Savana Island Restoration Project

Creating a safe habitat to save rare species in the Puerto Rico Geographic Bank

Savana Island is a beautiful ecological haven approximately 2 to 3 miles west of St. Thomas Island in the US Virgin Islands. Supporting a subtropical biome of dry forest, Savana is a treasured part of the Puerto Rico Geographic Bank. However, one of its key species—the endangered Virgin Islands Tree Boa—has been extirpated from it for many years.

This beautiful snake is just one of many species that once called the Virgin Islands home, but its range is now fragmented due to vegetation clearing and threats from introduced, invasive mammals. In order to reintroduce the VI Tree Boa to the island, it must be free from invasive predators, such as rats, which predate on Boa juveniles and adults.

Efforts to reintroduce the VI Tree Boa on islands within its historic range have been extremely successful, and Savana promises to be another such case!

A Voice from the Field

"Creating an island refuge to the Virgin Islands Tree Boa after the removal of invasive rats is a remarkable action for the recovery of this endangered snake. Restoring Savana Island represent a significant commitment of all the project partners involved and will enhance the terrestrial and marine habitats for seabirds, native reptiles, plants, land crabs, and nearshore reefs."

– José Luis Herrera-Giraldo, Project Manager, Island Conservation

The Project

In order to make Savana Island a safe haven for the VI Tree boa once again, a plan to remove invasive rats has been undertaken by Island Conservation and the Division of Fish and Wildlife in the Department of Planning and Natural Resources from the US Virgin Islands. With recent development in the field of aerial conservation, Savana could be restored from the air via the use of helicopters or Unmanned Aerial Systems (drones). The restoration project is slated to begin in May/April of 2025.

Project Partners & Funders

Island Conservation, Division of Fish and Wildlife in the Department of Planning and Natural Resources from the US Virgin Islands (DPNR-DFW), US Fish and Wildlife Services (USFWS), Greensboro Science Center

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