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Gecko species back on mainland NZ

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 1/12/2016

For the first time in a century, the Duvaucel's gecko can be found on mainland New Zealand after a reintroduction of the species into Tawharanui Open Sanctuary, north of Auckland.

The release is part of a long-term research programme led by Dr Manuela Barry from Massey University.

The programme will monitor the gecko population to see how it fares.

Senior ranger Matt Maitland says the open sanctuary provides a safe home for threatened native wildlife.

"To have the Duvaucel's gecko here for its reintroduction to mainland New Zealand for the first time in almost 100 years is a real honour," he said.

Auckland Council's regional park rangers and biodiversity team worked with Massey University, Tawharanui Open Sanctuary Society Inc volunteers, Ngati Manuhiri and other iwi to release the geckos to the sanctuary.

The geckos came from a Massey University research facility where they have been used to establish other populations on other islands.

They were originally sourced from the Mercury Islands off the Coromandel.

The Duvaucel's gecko is the largest surviving species of gecko in New Zealand, growing to up to 300mm in length.

Predators drove the geckos to extinction on the mainland and they have survived only on offshore islands.

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