Survival of captive-bred skinks following reintroduction to the wild is not explained by variation in speed or body condition index

  • Published source details Hare K.M., Norbury G., Judd L.M. & Cree A. (2012) Survival of captive-bred skinks following reintroduction to the wild is not explained by variation in speed or body condition index. New Zealand Journal of Zoology, 39, 319-328.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Release captive-bred reptiles into the wild: Snakes & lizards

Action Link
Reptile Conservation
  1. Release captive-bred reptiles into the wild: Snakes & lizards

    A controlled study in 2009–2011 in one site of temperate shrubland in Alexandra, New Zealand (Hare et al. 2012) found that releasing captive-reared Otago skinks Oligosoma otagense into a fenced enclosure resulted in some surviving for at least 18 months and some breeding successfully. Most captive-bred skinks survived for at least 12–18 months after release (12 months: 75%, 9 of 12 skinks survived, 3 females disappeared; 18 months: 58% survival, 2 males disappeared). Three newborn young were recorded two years after release.  Body condition of captive-reared skinks was higher than wild skinks (various species of Oligosoma skinks; presented as condition index), but sprint speed was lower (captive-bred: 0.4–0.6 m/s; wild: 0.9–1.5 m/s). In November 2009, twelve skinks from captive stock (five males, seven females, at least 3rd generation captive-born) were released. The release site (0.3 ha) was surrounded by a 1.9 m high mammal-proof fence and was free of all mammals for five months prior to release. Post-release visual monitoring using a camera to photograph and identify all lizards seen at sunning spots (rocks) was performed for two hours, 1–5 times/month from November 2009 to May 2011 (43 searches). Sprint speed was measured for skinks in captivity (29 skinks) and those in the wild (93 skinks).

    (Summarised by: Maggie Watson, William Morgan)

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