Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search

 


Tuatara ambassadors are ready for the spotlight

The tuatara is an ancient reptile with three eyes and no penis. Its ancestors once walked with dinosaurs and it is often called a “living fossil”.

We call it a “living treasure”.

These strange features are just a few reasons why Zealandia is celebrating this unique species during Tuatara February. By training two ambassador animals to help explain their strange natural history, visitors can get up close and personal or name one of these special creatures.

After being brought to Zealandia from Southland Museum, the two tuatara have been in training to help them feel more at ease in human company and comfortable being handled.
“The animals are brought out for short periods at a time so they don’t get stressed. But it’s long enough for people to understand how special they are,” said tuatara handler, Ron Goudswaard.

"The male is quite relaxed, but the female is still a little nervous. It certainly helps to have warm hands to make them feel at ease."

This is the first time that Zealandia has trained tuatara to interact with the public.

Visitors can expect to learn more about tuatara during a brief talk by Zealandia guides.

“It’s a family-friendly event and a very special opportunity. We also have a Children’s Trail, colouring competition and an opportunity to name one of the ambassadors.”

“Having the chance to work so closely with them is a privilege and watching children go from being slightly frightened to absolutely awestruck makes it very worthwhile.”

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.

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 Sphenodontia 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

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Tourism: China Southern Airlines To Fly To Christchurch

China Southern Airlines, in partnership with Christchurch Airport and the South Island tourism industry, has announced today it will begin flying directly between Guangzhou, Mainland China and the South Island. More>>

ALSO:

Dodgy: Truck Shops Come Under Scrutiny

Mobile traders, or truck shops, target poorer communities, particularly in Auckland, with non-compliant contracts, steep prices and often lower-quality goods than can be bought at ordinary shops, a Commerce Commission investigation has found. More>>

ALSO:

Auckland Transport: Government, Council Agree On Funding Approach

The government and Auckland Council have reached a detente over transport funding, establishing a one-year, collaborative timetable for decisions on funding for the city's transport infrastructure growth in the next 30 years after the government refused to fund the $2 billion of short and medium-term plans outlined in Auckland's draft Unitary Plan. More>>

ALSO:

Bullish On China Shock: Slumping Equities, Commodities May Continue, But Not A GFC

The biggest selloff in stock markets in at least four years, slumping commodity prices and a surge in Wall Street's fear gauge don't mean the world economy is heading for another global financial crisis, fund managers say. More>>

ALSO:

Real Estate: Investors Driving Up Auckland Housing Risk - RBNZ

The growing presence of investors in Auckland's property market is increasing the risks, and is likely to both amplify the housing cycle and worsen the potential damage from a downturn both to the financial system and the broader economy, said Reserve Bank deputy governor Grant Spencer. More>>

ALSO:

Annual Record: Overseas Visitors Hit 3 Million Milestone

Visitor arrivals to New Zealand surpassed 3 million for the first time in the July 2015 year, Statistics New Zealand said today. The record-breaking 3,002,982 visitors this year was 7 percent higher than the July 2014 year. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sci-Tech
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news