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Success at saving Skinks

Success at saving Skinks

Photo - James
Reardon, DOC.
Click to enlarge

Photo - James Reardon, DOC.

Hon Steve Chadwick
Minister of Conservation

1 July 2008 Media Statement
Success at saving Skinks

Conservation Minister Steve Chadwick today announced a major conservation management and research breakthrough with grand and Otago skinks, and a captive breeding programme with Otago Skinks, aimed at securing the genetic diversity of the species.

“Grand and Otago skinks are New Zealand’s largest lizards and are critically endangered, along with kakapo and Mauis dolphin. An important breakthrough in predator control has led to a strong recovery in a protected population of up to 94 per cent in just three years,” Steve Chadwick said.

“This is the first time on mainland New Zealand that there has been such a dramatic recovery in a critically endangered species.”

At Macraes Conservation Area in Eastern Otago, two mammal-proof exclosures and 45 kilometres of traplines have been used to control a wide range of predators.

“The Department of Conservation (DOC) Recovery Programme Team has also developed world leading techniques. These advances have not only benefited grand and Otago skinks, but can be used with other threatened species on the New Zealand mainland.

“The captive breeding programme for Otago skinks is a great example of collaboration between agencies and individuals, involving Wellington Zoo, DOC and private breeders.

“The lizards are from the wild and have only recently arrived at Wellington zoo’s specialist, conservation unit. Three experienced, private breeders in the lower North Island are also involved.

“These lizards are an important part of our national heritage and I wish these groups every success in captivity and in the wild to save the grand and Otago skinks from extinction.”


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