Trioceros jacksonii 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Reptilia Squamata Chamaeleonidae

Scientific Name: Trioceros jacksonii (Boulenger, 1896)
Common Name(s):
English Jackson’s Three-horned Chameleon, Jackson’s Chameleon, Kikuyu Three-Horned Chameleon
Chamaeleo jacksonii (Boulenger, 1896)
Chamaeleon jacksonii Boulenger, 1896
Taxonomic Notes: Three subspecies are recognized: T. j. jacksonii, T. j. xantholophus, T. j. merumontana (Tilbury 2010, Stipala 2014). An investigation of the status of these sub-species in a phylogenetic framework has not confirmed differentiation between them, as currently conceived, although the outlying Mt. Meru sub-species, T. j. merumontana, does appear to be distinct (Stipala 2014). It is clear that additional work is needed to resolve the status of these sub-species.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2014
Date Assessed: 2013-08-27
Assessor(s): Tolley, K.
Reviewer(s): Bowles, P.
Contributor(s): Anderson, C.V., Malonza, P., Stipala, J. & Tilbury, C.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Tolley, K. & Jenkins, R.K.B.
This species is listed as Least Concern due to its large extent of occurrence and tolerance of habitat modification. While it is apparently not heavily impacted by anthropogenic habitat change or by current levels of harvesting across its range as a whole, concerns exist about the sustainability of the scale of exploitation of the Tanzanian subspecies, which may become a significant conservation concern should future research suggest that this warrants recognition as a distinct species.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This highland chameleon species occurs in areas of Tanzania and Kenya above 1,500 m elevation (Tilbury 2010, Stipala 2014). Trioceros jacksonii jacksonii is known from Nairobi, Kimakia forest station and south-west of Mount Kenya in Kenya and from as yet unconfirmed records from Mombo in the west Usambara Mts. of Tanzania (Tilbury 2010). Trioceros j. merumontanus is only known from the Arusha district and Mount Meru in Tanzania , whilst T. j. xantholophus is known from the southern, eastern and northern slopes of Mt. Kenya (Tilbury 2010, Stipala 2014). Although the overall natural range is large, this is probably an over-estimate because there is a large distribution gap between the Kenyan highland populations, and the Mt. Meru population. This inflates the true range size by about 30%. In addition, an invasive population is found in the Hawaiian Islands. Animals were first introduced to the island of O'ahu in 1972, through the release of dozens of pet trade animals (McKeown 1996). The population has since become established and spread to the islands of Maui, Hawai’i, and Kauai. The Hawaiian populations are not considered to be part of the natural range.
Countries occurrence:
Kenya; Tanzania, United Republic of
United States (Hawaiian Is.)
Additional data:
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO):No
Estimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:30400
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO):No
Continuing decline in number of locations:No
Lower elevation limit (metres):1500
Upper elevation limit (metres):3200
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:This species is found in the high altitude areas of Kenya, on trees and bushes in a variety of different vegetation including montane forest and healthland, but also along forest edges, road verges, and disturbed areas (Tilbury 2010, Stipala 2014). They can be common in some urban and peri-urban areas (Tilbury 2010), suggesting they can tolerate transformed landscapes. It has a large natural distribution and is assumed to be not declining. The invasive population on the Hawaiian Islands has spread substantially since its introduction in 1972.
Current Population Trend:Stable
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:The species' distribution corresponds with the recent historic extent of moist and dry montane forest types, however it appears to tolerate anthropogenic landscapes that have replaced this natural habitat. The species can be found in hedges (including those along roadsides), on small trees, in gardens, and in plantations (Tilbury 2010, Stipala 2014). On Mt. Kenya it has been found on forest edges and disturbed vegetation in farmed areas where trees and bushes persist (Tilbury 2010, J. Stipala pers. comm. 2013).
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Yes

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: This species is popular in the international pet trade (Tilbury 2010) and is captive bred in Kenya for export. Annual CITES export quotas have only been issued for T. jacksonii merumontanus between 2000 and 2013 (CITES 2013). During that time, these quotas were set at 500 wild collected individuals, with the exceptions of 2002 and 2008 when no quota was issued, and ranged from 110-250 (155 average) captive born individuals per year from Tanzania (CITES 2013). Between 1977 and 2011 (2012 and 2013 trade data are incomplete or unavailable) a total of 117,024 live T. jacksonii individuals were exported from across the native range of this species for the pet trade (total of all undeclared, captive breeding, personal and commercial exports), of which 9,479 were reported as either captive bred, captive born, or ranched (UNEP-WCMC 2013). Commercial exports exhibited peaks of 43,111 individuals exported in 1979 (83,939 live individuals exported from 1978 through 1981), of 3,276 individuals exported in 1994, and of 5,228 individuals exported in 2007 (UNEP-WCMC 2013). From 1982 through 1990 and again from 1996 through 2002, annual exports fell below 1000 individuals per year (UNEP-WCMC 2013). From 2003 through 2011, annual exports only dropped below 1100 individuals per year once, in 2004 (UNEP-WCMC 2013). Most of the exports of this species stemmed from Kenya (90,658 total individuals from 1977 through 2011, only 8,446 of which were exported from 2002 to 2011) and Tanzania (22.198 total individuals from 1985 through 2011) (UNEP-WCMC 2013). Exports reported for T. jacksonii from Burundi (1,688 individuals from 1988 through 1991) and Uganda (207 individuals from 2001 through 2010) likely represent trade in T. johnstoni.

The subspecies T. j. xantholophus has become established on several of the islands that form the Hawaaian archipelago, and rather than removal from the native range, these populations could be used to supply the needs of the pet trade.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Although habitat loss and degradation does not seem to be an immediate threat to this species, it has been the second most heavily exported chameleon species since 1972, representing more than 8% of the global chameleon pet trade market (Jenkins et al. 2013). In recent years, it has been the 9th most heavily traded chameleon species (Jenkins et al. 2013). Given it is relatively large in body size, removal of large animals from wild populations could influence population demographics.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species occurs in a number of protected areas, including the Aberdares National Park, Mount Kenya National Park and Arusha National Park (Tilbury 2010). Trade data indicate that current trade (2002 to 2011) from Kenya (T. j. jacksonii and T. j. xantholophus) is of captive bred or farmed animals. The majority (91%) of current trade from Tanzania (T. j. merumontana), however, is in wild collected animals. Therefore, current levels of harvest in T. J. merumontana may not be sustainable. Because the population of T. j. merumontana on Hawaii is invasive, the feasibility of harvest for the pet trade from this invasive population, rather than those from the native range, should be investigated.

Errata [top]

Errata reason: A sentence in the Use and Trade section previously reading " In recent years, it has been the 9th most heavily traded species (Jenkins et al. 2013)" was changed to " In recent years, it has been the 9th most heavily traded chameleon species (Jenkins et al. 2013)." in order to clarify what the ranking referred to.

Citation: Tolley, K. 2014. Trioceros jacksonii. (errata version published in 2017) The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2014: e.T172531A109922526. . Downloaded on 19 November 2017.
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