New Zealand: lizards moved to islands

This is a video about a Duvaucel’s gecko.

From the New Zealand Herald:

Geckos moving to gulf islands

Thursday December 21, 2006

Biologists are relocating more than 60 of the rare Duvaucel’s geckos to Motuora and Tiritiri Matangi islands in the Hauraki Gulf.

The geckos, and a group of skinks, are being moved to increase the reptile population of the islands, both of which are predator-free.

Motuora now has only two native reptile species but once was home to as many as 13, including tuatara, before forest was cleared.

Massey University conservation biologists Dr Dianne Brunton and Dr Weihong Ji will monitor the geckos and skinks after they are released, with the help of tiny transmitters mounted on some of them.

New Zealand lizards and seagrass at Whangarei: here.

Australian stumpie skink: here.

6 thoughts on “New Zealand: lizards moved to islands

  1. Rare skinks thriving in Alexandra basin

    By JOHN EDENS in Alexandra – The Southland Times

    Last updated 13:14 22/03/2010

    Endangered lizards reintroduced to the Alexandra basin last year are thriving and the conservationists behind the project are thrilled.

    In November 12 captive-bred Otago skinks were released into the predator-proof Mokomoko dryland sanctuary in the Aldinga Conservation Area near Alexandra.

    The 200 square metre enclosure is ringed by a 2m-high stainless steel mesh fence, which protects a lizard-friendly schist rock and scrub habitat.

    The Central Otago Ecological Trust in partnership with the Department of Conservation spent four years on the project.

    Trust chairman Grant Norbury yesterday said 11 of the 12 skinks had been photographed and appeared to be doing well. Photographing was a reliable way of tracking because each animal had a distinctive pattern.

    The next step was to monitor the lizards during winter and hope breeding started by the spring, he said.

    Trust members and volunteers fed the little lizards a mixture of mincemeat and pureed fruit but it appeared the group had adapted to catching insects and eating berries, he said.

    Meanwhile, the Department of Conservation plans to move Otago skink and grand skink to Christchurch next month. Programme manager Andy Hutcheon said a few thousand of each species remained around Macrae’s Flat and the Lindis area.

    Eight will be moved to a captive-breeding enclosure in Peacock Springs.

    Otago skink disappeared from the wild in the 1970s, largely because of predation by introduced mammals.


  2. Skinks slink to new home

    By DAVID WILLIAMS – The Press

    Last updated 05:00 10/04/2010

    IAIN McGREGOR/The Press

    NEW HOME: An Otago skink is released into a predator-proof enclosure at the Peacock Springs Wildlife Park at McLeans Island, near Christchurch, yesterday, as part of a breeding programme.

    It is a small step for eight skinks, but a giant leap for an endangered species.

    Three Otago skinks and five grand skinks from the high country near Wanaka were released into a predator-proof enclosure yesterday on the outskirts of Christchurch as part of a breeding programme.

    The $100,000 purpose-built “skinkery” is part of Isaac Wildlife Trust’s 1000-hectare Peacock Springs Wildlife Park at McLeans Island.

    Conservation Minister Kate Wilkinson said the skinks’ move was a major step for the critically endangered species, which were among New Zealand’s largest lizards.

    “Survival of these skinks is just as precarious as kakapo and takahe; more fragile than kiwi,” she said.

    It was hoped the lizards would eventually be released back into the wild.

    Department of Conservation southern general manager of operations John Cumberpatch said the skinks’ arrival extended an important conservation programme.

    Five Otago skinks were transferred to Peacock Springs in 2009 as a trial.

    “People don’t know much about them, but they can grow up to 35 centimetres long,” he said.

    Once found right across Otago, the skinks number only a couple of thousand of each species at Macraes Flat.

    Introduced predators such as stoats, rats and weasels have severely cut the population since the 1970s. The Grand and Otago Skink Recovery Programme was established in 2002 after evidence suggested both species could be extinct within 15 years.

    The Isaac Wildlife Trust had gone to great lengths to build the skinks’ enclosure, including trucking in the right kind of schist stone from Central Otago.

    Lady Diana Isaac said the trust would have liked more skinks “but they just can’t be found”.

    Skinks were in the news this year after a German tourist was jailed for attempting to smuggle 44 skinks and geckos out of New Zealand in his pants.

    Yesterday, a Massey University scientist urged the Government to produce a co-ordinated national strategy to halt the increase in threatened species.

    Mark Seabrook-Davison said in his doctoral thesis that tough, new conservation laws were needed to protect the nearly 3000 endangered species.


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