Project nº 3/2004 Algogar productions S. L.  

             Approximate duration of the documentary 55 minutes in Panoramic 16:9  DV CAM format.

            Algogar Production has the pleasure to present our latest documentary ; “The giant Lizard of Cape Verde, Going going gone.

In this scientific expedition, we try to film something more than a simple  documentary , We set out on this trip to try to rediscover  the giant Skink from the Cape Verde Islands Macroscincus coctaei, we want to corroborate their extinction, after the discovery of some small bones , that belong to this species in the excrement of a feral cat, one of the main causes of their extinction. What makes us harbour hope is that in some secret place on one of 3 uninhabited islands,  where there may still survive a few lizards. We will climb down the steep mountainside of the island of Branco, with teams of mountaineers, where there still exists areas inaccessible to the skinks predators. The discovery of some living lizards, would be a great scientific landmark acclaimed by the whole world.   

The Cape Verde archipelago, are a group of islands, located 200 miles off the coast of Senegal in West Africa, a former colony of Portugal, it received its independence in 1975. A very poor country with few natural resources. In the last century passing whaling expeditions from the USA to the Antarctic region used to stop and pick up crews on the islands.

This has led to more Caboverdians living in Boston U.S.A. than in all of the Islands today.


We begin our journey with 150 years of  well-known history about this skink, from Napoleon until modern times, the last living lizards were seen in the 1940s.



Picture taken of a living specimen in 1873


 Macroscincus coctei.
Specimen conserved at the Museo Regionale di Scienze Naturali in Turin.

We will visit the natural history museums of England France and Italy, to look for   preserved specimens and to gather bibliographical documentation on the tormented existence of this species. Although the introduction of cats and other predators have been the main cause of their extinction, along with hunting by man who also contribute directly to the extinction on one of these islands by setting up a penal colony, on which prisoners were abandoned without  food, and had to eat lizards to survive.



The Giant Cape Verde Lizard, belonged to the family of skinks, which is the largest family of lizards, Macroscincus was the largest species of skink known to have existed and could measure up to  65cms. Herbivorous, feeding on flowers and plants which are abundant during the short rainy season. In ancient  times they lived on most islands,  but the last place in that they were seen before its disappearance in recent times was on the small islands of Branco and Razo. 

Another species of lizard as Mabuya gigas also he has been a victim of the felines as the giant lizard.

           In Cape Verde there exist other endemic species that also are in danger of extinction, small birds and lizards as this giant geckoTarentola gigas, which he has remained restricted to two islets in that there are no cats.


The filming poses big challenges in its production, the documentary will be carried out over one year during the diverse climatic stations, since there is insufficient  infrastructure in the islands for an expedition of this kind, we will have to transfer all the team and necessary materials, chartering a ship from  the Canary Islands 500 miles to the north.



We will have the invaluable collaboration of a group of expert scientists, familiar with this peculiar reptile, mountain climbers, and local guides who will assist us  in the search for the giant lizard of Cape Verde, all in all an ambitious project.


© Fotografías de José Antonio Mateo y James Pether