Art & Entertainment | Book Reviews | Education | Entertainment Video | Health | Lifestyle | Sport | Sport Video | Search

 


Juvenile tuatara to come of age at Zealandia

Juvenile tuatara to come of age at Zealandia


Two of the Tuatara from Victoria University's incubation programme

It's Tuatara February at Zealandia. To celebrate, five juvenile tuatara will be released into the sanctuary this Thursday when they are returned from Victoria University of Wellington’s captive incubation programme.

“In the wild, eggs hatch after 12 – 15 months and hatchlings will often emerge when the next season’s eggs are being laid,” explained Zealandia Conservation Manager, Raewyn Empson.

“We found some of these eggs exposed and they were taken, along with the others in the clutch, to Victoria University of Wellington for incubation.”

Tuatara are a threatened species that have been extinct from the mainland since the late 1700’s. They were first introduced to Zealandia in 2005 and became the first breeding population on the mainland in over 200 years. The sanctuary now supports a population of over 200 individuals.

“Tuatara have a slow reproductive cycle and females do not breed every year, so it will take many decades for tuatara to fully populate Zealandia,” explained Susan Keall, Senior Technical Officer at Victoria University of Wellington.

“As we have the equipment and experience here at Victoria to successfully incubate eggs, we can assist the population growth by incubating and hatching eggs that would have otherwise failed.”

The tuatara will be released in the main sanctuary, outside a fenced off research area where the eggs were originally found.

“By releasing them outside the fenced area where they were found, we hope to increase genetic diversity in the population. It also means visitors will have a better chance to see juveniles in the main sanctuary, where they are usually more spread out. We have seen wild juveniles outside the fenced area and are confident these five will survive,” explained Empson.

Zealandia has been celebrating tuatara all month during Tuatara February. This release will allow visitors to see conservation in action before exploring the sanctuary until it closes at 7.30pm.

It is hoped that Tuatara February will increase awareness about tuatara conservation and research in the sanctuary to contribute to their ongoing survival as a species.

The public is invited to join Tuatara February celebrations all month by attending the release this evening at 6pm. It is suggested that they arrive at 5.30pm to allow for walking time to reach the release site.

FACTS:
• Tuatara are a rare reptile found only in New Zealand.
• Tuatara were extinct from the mainland since the late 1700’s until they were released at Zealandia in 2005.
Why are tuatara important?
• Tuatara are the only living member of the Rhynchocephalia order. Their ancestors were well represented by many species during the age of the dinosaurs. This makes them important in understanding reptile evolution.

• Tuatara reproduction is affected by temperature. The temperature that eggs experience during incubation will determine the sex of the hatchlings. Scientists suspect that global warming could cause the extinction of tuatara. Once a population has more males than females, not enough young can be produced to replace old animals.

ends


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 

Kiwi Pride: Accolades For Film About Man Who Falls In Love With A Stick

A short animated film written and directed by New Zealand born Matthew Darragh has been selected for the Courts des îles, International Festival of Short Fiction Films. More>>

ALSO:

Anniversaries: Vivid Memories Four Years After Christchurch Quake

Four years ago, an earthquake that would change the lives of thousands shook Christchurch at 12.51 p.m. More>>

ALSO:

Environment 'n' Conservation: Slash Meets Tāne The Tuatara

Rock and Roll superstar and former Guns 'n' Roses guitarist Slash visited Zealandia Ecosanctuary along with collaborating band Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators. More>>

Foo Fighters: Exclusive Show In Support Of Music Foundation

Frontier Touring has today announced that the Foo Fighters will play a last minute intimate and exclusive benefit show at the Auckland Town Hall this Friday February 20 with all profits going to The New Zealand Music Foundation. More>>

ALSO:

Canterbury Quakes: Feedback Sought On Short-Listed Memorial Designs

Six short-listed designs for the Canterbury Earthquake Memorial have been released for public input... The Memorial will honour the victims of Canterbury’s earthquakes and acknowledge the suffering of all those who lived through them as well as the heroism of those who participated in the rescue and recovery operations. More>>

ALSO:

Celia Lashlie: Legacy Will Live On

Social justice advocate Celia Lashlie leaves a legacy that will continue to have a positive impact on the lives of New Zealanders for years to come, Labour Leader Andrew Little says. “Celia was a powerful voice for reason, sense and compassion. Her work, particularly with teenage boys, was ground-breaking." More>>

ALSO:

Obituary: Sad Farewell To PPTA Activist Robin Duff

Duff has been a long-time fixture of the association... Most recently Duff has been working hard to support Canterbury teachers through the quakes that devastated the region. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
Culture
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news