Otago Daily Times

Land bought as habitat for skinks

HOKITIKA

- STAFF RE­PORTER Animals · Good News · Ecology · Wildlife · Hokitika · New Zealand Department of Conservation

A 1.3HA coastal prop­erty north of Hokitika has been bought by the Depart­ment of Con­ser­va­tion to se­cure the fu­ture of the en­dan­gered Ch­ester­field skink.

Named the Kapi­tia skink by lo­cal iwi, the pop­u­la­tion num­bers about 200 in­di­vid­u­als. Cur­rently, about 60 are housed at Auck­land Zoo af­ter Cy­clone Fehi in 2018 de­stroyed al­most half of the 1ha of habitat where the main part of the pop­u­la­tion was man­aged.

The skink has a threat rating of ‘‘na­tion­ally crit­i­cal’’.

Doc op­er­a­tions man­ager Ni­cole Kun­z­mann said they had an in­cred­i­bly small known habitat area along a 2km stretch of the coast, con­firmed by sig­nif­i­cant searches.

‘‘With the beach ad­ja­cent to road re­serve be­ing eaten away by coastal ero­sion, there was a need to se­cure habitat fur­ther in­land, which is why the prop­erty has been pur­chased.

‘‘The next step is to build a preda­tor­proof fence to pro­tect the skinks from the mul­ti­tude of preda­tors . . in­clud­ing cats, stoats, rats and mice.’’

Its ex­perts had lo­cated Kapi­tia skinks on the land bought, which gave con­fi­dence it was a good piece of habitat.

‘‘Auck­land Zoo is cur­rently run­ning some tri­als to de­ter­mine if the skinks like to climb on plants, which is rea­son­ably likely, given their tail is some­what pre­hen­sile — an adap­ta­tion for climb­ing.

‘‘This will help us de­cide what sort of plants are most suit­able for the new habitat.

‘‘We . . . look for­ward to wel­com­ing the Auck­land Zoo skinks back to their new home, once the fence is built and the habitat is ready.’’ — Greymouth Star

 ?? PHOTO: SI­MON HEN­DER­SON ?? Not for­got­ten . . . Alexandra res­i­dents (from left) Mark Davies, Jim Kennedy, Chris­tine Wright, Tom Wood­ford and Jude Parbhu take a mo­ment to re­mem­ber the fallen at Alexandra War Memo­rial yes­ter­day.
PHOTO: SI­MON HEN­DER­SON Not for­got­ten . . . Alexandra res­i­dents (from left) Mark Davies, Jim Kennedy, Chris­tine Wright, Tom Wood­ford and Jude Parbhu take a mo­ment to re­mem­ber the fallen at Alexandra War Memo­rial yes­ter­day.
 ?? PHOTO: MATTHEW MCKEW ?? For the fallen . . . For­mer Queen­stown RSA pres­i­dent Lyall McGre­gor salutes af­ter lay­ing his poppy in an in­fantry hel­met.
PHOTO: MATTHEW MCKEW For the fallen . . . For­mer Queen­stown RSA pres­i­dent Lyall McGre­gor salutes af­ter lay­ing his poppy in an in­fantry hel­met.
 ?? PHOTO: KAYLA HODGE ?? Solemn ad­dress . . . Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher makes his ad­dress at the Oa­maru Armistice Day ser­vice.
PHOTO: KAYLA HODGE Solemn ad­dress . . . Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher makes his ad­dress at the Oa­maru Armistice Day ser­vice.
 ?? PHOTO: DOC ?? A Ch­ester­field skink.
PHOTO: DOC A Ch­ester­field skink.

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