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

 

Scoop Review Of Books: From Here And There

Being Chinese: A New Zealander’s Story
by Helene Wong.
This is the fascinating story of Helene Wong, born in 1949 in Taihape to Chinese parents: her mother, born soon after her parents migrated here, and her father, born in China but sent to relatives in Taihape at seven to get an education in English. More>>

Chiku: Hamilton Zoo's Baby Chimpanzee Named

Hamilton Zoo has named its three-month-old baby chimpanzee after a month-long public naming competition through the popular zoo’s website. The name chosen is Chiku, a Swahili name for girls meaning "talker" or "one who chatters". More>>

Game Over: Trans-Tasman Netball League To Discontinue

Netball Australia and Netball New Zealand have confirmed that the existing ANZ Championship format will discontinue after the current 2016 season, with both organisations to form national netball leagues in their respective countries. More>>

NZSO Review: Stephen Hough Is Perfection-Plus

He took risks, and leant into the music when required. But you also felt that every moment of his playing made sense in the wider picture of the piece. Playing alongside him, the NZSO were wonderful as ever, and their guest conductor, Gustavo Gimeno, coaxed from them a slightly darker, edgier sound than I’m used to hearing. More>>

ALSO:

Howard Davis Review: King Lear At Circa

In order to celebrate it's 40th birthday, it is perhaps fitting that Circa Theatre should pick a production of 'King Lear,' since it's also somewhat fortuitously Shakespeare's 400th anniversary. If some of the more cerebral poetry is lost in Michael Hurst's streamlined, full throttle production, it's more than made up for by plenty of lascivious violence designed to entertain the groundlings. More>>

Scoop Review Of Books: Tauranga Books Festival

Escape to Tauranga for Queen’s Birthday weekend and an ideas and books-focused festival that includes performance, discussion, story-telling, workshops and an Italian-theme morning tea. More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
Culture
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news