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Wherefore art thou Spotted Skinks?
ZEALANDIA Ecosanctuary

Wherefore art thou Spotted Skinks?

On Thursday 28th January, 2016, 45 rare Spotted skinks were released onto the slope above Tui Terrace. This was the first time in 5 years that a new species was introduced into Zealandia. The Spotted skinks were given a formal welcome both in Māori and English. There was a ceremony attended by representatives of the local iwi, dignitories, ZEALANDIA staff and volunteers, also the public. Speeches about conservation and the importance of protecting this rare species were given by the Mayor, Celia Wade-Brown and Wellington City Councillor, Andy Foster. ZEALANDIA Conservation Manager, Raewyn Empson, explained this was the sanctuary’s 18th species translocation, but it was the first time that lizards had been released here.

Although misty and cool, it was too exciting to notice the weather! Seeing these pretty, camouflage coloured newcomers in their plastic containers was amazing! Getting ‘up-close and personal’ was possible, as the containers were carried very carefully by children from ZEALANDIA’s School Holiday Programme. Children held the clear containers up high as they moved slowly amongst the big crowd. This made it also possible to marvel at the golden markings and have eye contact with the placid, patient Spotted skinks.

Later that week, 50 more skinks from Matiu/Somes Island were released into the Tuatara Enclosure. Many of the skinks were female and gravid (pregnant). Hopefully, there will soon be the patter of 3-4 babies per Spotted skink. However, I’ve not ‘seen hide nor hair’ of them!

Every Monday fortnight for the last three walks, I’ve sneaked ahead of the Walk Group for a look and it’s been all quiet on the Nursery Front!

Other Walk Group members have seen them, whereas I’ve not even been third lucky!!!

Wherefore art thou Spotted Skinks?

Rosemary Cole,

Sanctuary Storyteller.

Spotted skink in clear container (main image).
Kids from the Holiday Programme show off the new additions. Photos by Judi Lapsley Miller.

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