Meet Lance. He’s a little known but very important member of the Perth Zoo family.

He hatched at the Zoo in 2001, whilst some of his dedicated zoo keepers were still in high school, and is part of a program that helped his species fight extinction. Now at 18-years-old, he has surpassed the average lifespan of his species by more than a decade!! Great going Lance.

The Lancelin Island Skink is endemic to that small island off the coast of WA. In 1995 until the early 2000’s the Zoo was involved in a breeding program for this vulnerable reptile in coordination with the now Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions. This was to ensure their survival by releasing and introducing a new population to another wild habitat near Jurien Bay.

A few of the skinks bred at the Zoo remained as ambassador animals for their species, Lance was one of those super star skinks. He’s now the sole surviving ambassador and lives behind-the-scenes, seeing out his elderly years in the lap of lizard luxury.

Perth Zoo Senior Keeper, Matt Ricci, has always appreciated how special this little reptile is and is confident he may be with us for a while longer.

Check out the video and gallery to learn more and get a closer look at what might be the oldest Lancelin Island Skink that has lived!