Conservation of New Zealand lizards (Lacertilia: Scincidae) by translocation of small populations

  • Published source details Towns D.R. & Ferreira S.M. (2001) Conservation of New Zealand lizards (Lacertilia: Scincidae) by translocation of small populations. Biological Conservation, 98, 211-222.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Translocate adult or juvenile reptiles: Lizards

Action Link
Reptile Conservation
  1. Translocate adult or juvenile reptiles: Lizards

    A study in 1987–1998 on a partially forested island in New Zealand (Towns & Ferreira 2001) found that after translocating three species of lizard, some individuals were still present 6–12 years later. Up to 38% of the released lizards disappeared in the first 12 months.  Lizards had high annual survival (Cyclodina alani annual survival rate: 81% male, 88% female; Whitaker's skink Cyclodina whitakeri: 76% male, 77% female; egg-laying skink Oligosoma suteri: 87% male, 93% female), but adult populations did not increase (Cyclodina alani: 4 released, 6 captured after 7 years; Whitaker's skink: 18 released, 11 captured after 12 years; egg-laying skink: 30 released, 35 captured after 6 years). In 1987–1990, lizards (total released: 14, 28 and 30 lizards) were captured in pitfall traps from two islands and translocated to a nearby island where European rabbits Oryctolagus cuniculus and Pacific rats Rattus exulans had been removed. Lizards were translocated within 48 h of capture, except for 23 Whitaker's skink which were not released for two months. Post-release monitoring was conducted with baited pitfall traps set in spring (November or early December) and late summer (late February or March) and checked daily during a 3–7-day monitoring period.

    (Summarised by: Maggie Watson, William Morgan)

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