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Trademe Winners to Gift Tuatara Naming Rights

Trademe Winners to Gift Tuatara Naming Rights

Rotorua, 4 November 2011 - Three lucky New Zealanders will be receiving a very unique Christmas present this year – the opportunity to name a pair of rare tuatara babies.

The tuatara naming rights were auctioned on Trademe by Rainbow Springs Kiwis Wildlife Park in Rotorua to celebrate their 10 baby tuatara going on display and to raise funds for the future preservation of tuatara.

Three auctions were run simultaneously with the winner of each receiving the naming rights to two of the baby tuatara as well as a family pass to Rainbow Springs and the opportunity to have their photo taken with the tuatara.

The three auctions raised a total of $775 which will help further the conservation, education and captive breeding programme for tuatara at Rainbow Springs.

The quirky auction pages were very popular attracting over 5,700 page views across the 3 pages as well as generating some interesting comments and name suggestions such as; “Darren and Sharon”, “Tui and Tara” and “Neville and Craigene”.

However, each of the three winners has told Rainbow Springs that they are planning on gifting the naming rights, so the official names are yet to be decided.

The ten baby tuatara went on display at Rainbow Springs last month and have fast become one of the parks' hottest attractions.

Rainbow Springs Event Manager Kat Hicks says, “The tuatara babies are doing really well in their new environment. They are more active than their parents so people are enjoying watching them dart around. There has been a lot of interest from locals who have been coming in specifically to see the babies.”

The tuatara is one of the oldest animals on the planet, and the closest living relative to the dinosaur. Native to New Zealand, they are extremely rare and hard to breed.

Rainbow Springs’ ten baby tuatara were born in April this year after a 184 day incubation period. They were then cared for in a nursery before going on display to the public in a larger enclosure last month.

“When the guides explain how long the tuatara incubation process takes people are amazed and then understand how special it is that we have these babies,” says Hicks.

The tuatara is an ancient reptile which roamed the earth at the same time as the dinosaurs more than 225 million years ago. Because the tuatara outlasted its relatives which died out some 60 million years ago they are sometimes called a ‘living fossil’.

Rainbow Springs Kiwi Wildlife Park is an icon of New Zealand tourism and has been open since 1932. Spread over 22 acres of Rotorua parkland, Rainbow Springs is a conservation and breeding haven for endangered New Zealand species such as Kiwi and tuatara. The park offers a unique wildlife experience for visitors, who can see animals in their natural environment, both during the day and night. Features of the award winning tourist attraction include New Zealand’s first ‘open to view’ Kiwi hatchery, and a range of wildlife including trout, tuatara and native birds.

Rainbow Springs, Fairy Springs Road, Rotorua.

ENDS

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