Illinois zoo welcomes 8 baby geckos

BROOKFIELD, Ill. -- There's a population explosion going on at the Brookfield Zoo. There were eight new births in just the past few days. But the new creatures are so small you might not ever notice them.

Sometimes big things come in very small packages, like the new baby turquoise dwarf geckos at the zoo. They're smaller than a penny and weigh less than a gram. But there is joy at the Brookfield Zoo gecko breeding room.

"Lots of babies being born," Andy Snider, a curator at the Brookfield Zoo, said. "We have two pairs of turquoise dwarf geckos that have been producing quite a number of eggs. As of this morning we have hatched eight babies and we have another three eggs in the incubators."

These aren't geckos that you see running all over Florida, and they're not the kind that talk and sell auto insurance on television, but these geckos are special and very rare.

This gecko species lives in only one spot in the world. A small forest in east Africa and even though these tiny creatures might seem insignificant, they are important.

"Very important because these animals are critically endangered in the wild. They're only found in Tanzania in an only three and a half square mile area of Tanzania, that's disappearing" Snider said.

They are losing their forest to developers. The geckos live only on Pandanus trees which are coveted by builders. But perhaps the biggest killer of all is humans. Humans love to own beautiful things.

"As you can see they are spectacular looking little animals so they are also being smuggled out as part of the international pet trade," Snider said.

Brookfield Zoo started this project a year ago to help save a species and so far, so good.
"A lot of these animals are going away in the wild and we just don't know how many are left," Snider said.

Right now there is just one dwarf gecko on display. He is called simply 67-95. null
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