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Museum Loses Living Treasure

Otago Museum and Te Rūnanga o Ōtākou are sad to report that, Manawa, the treasured moko kākāriki (jewelled gecko), was euthanised on late Friday, 13 November after expert treatments could not revive him from a series of ailments. Otago Museum had joined with the rūnanga, the Department of Conservation and the Dunedin Wildlife Hospital to care for this living taoka (treasure) for the last few years.

Manawa was poached from the Otago Peninsula and was illegally trafficked from Aotearoa New Zealand to Germany. After being seized from the illegal pet trade, Manawa was returned to Aotearoa, and eventually Otago in 2016. Manawa is believed to be the first endemic wild animal poached from this country to be successfully repatriated. Due to concerns regarding the biosecurity risk to New Zealand’s fragile and unique environment, Manawa was required to stay in containment at Otago Museum.

Manawa captured the heart of Otago, and his name reflected this.

Unfortunately, Manawa became increasingly unwell recently. Over the course of this year, he has received treatment from the Dunedin Wildlife Hospital for a variety of ailments. No specific diseases or causes were diagnosed. As his age is unknown, his failing health may have been due to natural progression.

Sadly, the hospital team reported a notable decrease in his quality of life. He lost interest in food and his continued medical treatments were not proving effective. The vets at the Wildlife Hospital advised euthanasia as the humane option.

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