Tu­atara takes a road trip to Alex

Central Otago Mirror - - FRONT PAGE - By CHE BAKER

A tu­atara from In­ver­cargill has taken his first road trip to Alexan­dra to visit the Cen­tral Sto­ries Mu­seum and Art Gallery. Gun­ther, a 23-year-old tu­atara who lives at the South­land Mu­seum and Art Gallery, made the trip with mu­seum tu­atara cu­ra­tor Lindsay Ha­z­ley, of In­ver­cargill, to give peo­ple in the area the chance to have an up­close en­counter with the rep­tile. Mr Ha­z­ley said it had been the first time Gun­ther had left In­ver­cargill but he was used to be­ing around peo­ple and be­ing touched. About 120 peo­ple at­tended the open day to see the tu­atara as well as two Otago skinks and a jew­elled gecko. How­ever, Gun­ther had to be kept well away from the skinks and gecko be­cause he would ‘‘eat any­thing that moves’’, Mr Lindsay said. The open day was a test run be­fore a per­ma­nent skink en­clo­sure is housed at the mu­seum from the end of the month. Cen­tral Sto­ries project man­ager Rachel Check­etts said an en­clo­sure was be­ing built to house two skinks at the mu­seum. A raf­fle was also be­ing held to name the skinks. So far, sug­ges­tions in­cluded Tiny, Fluffy, Scamp and Buck­beak but any­one could drop into the mu­seum with sug­ges­tions be­fore the end of the month. The mu­seum re­ceived a do­na­tion from the Cen­tral Otago Eco­log­i­cal Trust to help build the en­clo­sure but more spon­sor­ship was needed to help with the cost and up­keep of the skinks, she said.

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