Brookesia tristis is restricted to one tiny location, making its population particularly vulnerable to any disturbances to its habitat (5). The scientific name of this diminutive chameleon, tristis, means ‘sad’, and was chosen because the species’ entire known range is under threat from severe deforestation, despite being recently declared as a nature reserve (1).
The Montagne des Français is just 12 kilometres from the sprawling town of Antsiranana and is under pressure from clearance for agriculture, timber and charcoal production, and livestock grazing (6) (7). Sadly, this leaves many of the area’s unique species, including Brookesia tristis, with an uncertain future (6).
Many other Brookesia species are also threatened by collection for the pet trade, even in protected areas (3), but it is not yet known whether this is a problem for Brookesia tristis.