Media release: 20 July 2017
A long-term resident at the Fiordland National Park Visitor Centre has been stolen.
The Marlborough green gecko, Naultinus manukanus, was reported missing on 19 July. The padlock to its terrarium was absent, and marks on the latch point toward this having been forced or cut.
Greg Lind, Department of Conservation Operations Manager (Te Anau) said that the gecko had been a Te Anau resident for over thirty years.
“The gecko has a distinctive grey mark on its head and would be easily identified. It’s our longest serving advocacy animal in Fiordland, and staff just want it back safe.”
“It has outlived another gecko which used to share its terrarium.”
“The police have been notified, and we are asking everyone to keep their eyes open.”
The terrarium is placed near the entrance to the Fiordland National Park Visitor Centre, allowing the gecko to welcome all visitors to the area.
The terrarium was refreshed with food and leaves mid-afternoon on 16 July. When the Ranger returned three days later, the padlock had been removed and the gecko was missing.
“It is distressing to think this animal, that has lived in one place all its life, may be subjected to uncomfortable experiences.” Greg Lind said.
The Marlborough green gecko, also known as the manuka gecko, is endemic to New Zealand. The gecko, which can grow up to 70mm long, is classified as an At Risk species.
Anyone with information about the missing gecko should contact Te Anau police or the Te Anau DOC office (03 249 0200).
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