Protected Terrestrial Species

Bonaire is home to over 200 protected terrestrial species. From underground insects to acrobatic bats, Bonaire’s unique terrestrial species can be found wherever you look.

There are over 200 protected amphibian, reptile, bird, insect, mammal, mollusk and plant species across Bonaire. Protection status comes in many forms including being listed as an Important Bird and Biodiversity species, included on the IUCN Red List, listed in the Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species in wild flora and fauna (CITES), listed in the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS), noted in the Specially Protected Areas and Wildlife (SPAW) Protocol, if its noted for being endemic, or as a flagship species.


Below three species have been highlighted to demonstrate the diversity of these protected species within the terrestrial environment, check them out to learn more!

Leptonycteris curasoae

Southern Long-nosed Bats

These bats have short, greyish-brown fur and a small, triangular nose-leaf. These bats have a long tongue which is used to lap up nectar throughout Bonaire’s dry tropical forests. In fact, for most of the year, 90% of their diet comes from various species of cactus and are considered important pollinators for local cacti. Southern long-nosed bats can be found throughout the ABC islands, as well as throughout northern Colombia and Venezuela.

Guaiacum sp.

Lignum Vitae Trees

Known as Wayaká in Papiamentu, the Lignum Vitae trees are the only two species of evergreen native to Bonaire. The two species of Lignum Vitae that grow on the ABC Islands of the Dutch Caribbean are the Roughbark Lignum Vitae (Guaiacum officinale) and the Holywood Lignum Vitae (Guaiacum sanctum).

The scientific name for this tree comes from the native Taino work ‘guayacan’ which means holy, and was historically coveted for its use for medicinal use. Additionally, the wood of Wayaka trees is one of the hardest in the world, and is also self lubricating, which made it highly sought after for shipbuilding purposes. Nowadays, the Wayaka is appreciated for its evergreen nature, and used as a welcome shade cover in many garden. The IUCN Red List categorizes both species as endangered due to historical overharvest of the timber. While the trees were harvested on a large scale on the ABC islands in the 18th and 19th centuries, they are now thrive on these islands and are a common sight, especially in protected areas such as the Washington Slagbaai National Park.

Anolis bonairensis

Bonarian Anole

Bonarian Anole The Bonarian Anole can be found on Bonaire as well as Venezuela’s Las Aves islands. Anolis lizards are some of the most adaptive species within the animal kingdom. The Bonairian anole has been able to evolve to fulfill a very special niche, capable of thriving across the island. Its distinctive markings allow it to camouflage in local trees and scrubs. You can watch these tiny lizards “dance” as they lift each foot up when it gets too hot on the ground.

Learn more about Flagship Species

Click here

Don't forget

Pay your nature fee

The Stinapa Bonaire nature fee is mandatory for all users of the Bonaire National Marine Park and the Washington Slagbaai National Park.

Valid per calendar year JAN-DEC

Pay your nature fee