Milestone for shore skink population  Update from shore skink monitoring undertaken at the end of January

  • Thirty-one shore skinks were caught in 2021, most of which are thought to be island-born (16 adults, 7 gravid females, 7 sub-adults and 1 neonate).
  • This number exceeds the 24 individuals released in 2011 and therefore confirms the important milestone that the population is moving into Translocation Stage 3: ‘population growth as indicated by the capture of more animals than were originally released’. This is the first formal survey to exceed this threshold number of captures – although an informal winter check of refuges in July 2020 (after COVID-19 lockdown) also exceeded this threshold, observing 28 shore skinks. That similar counts of shore skinks were obtained in 2020 and 2021 provides additional confidence that this milestone has been met.
  • The average weights of adults and gravid females were 4.4 g and 5.0 g, respectively; and both groups had an average snout-to-vent length of 60.1 mm. All shore skinks were in good condition.
  • The shore skinks are expanding the area of dune that they inhabit. The population has expanded to the north and south of the original release site, and further inland than on any previous survey.
  • The shore skinks continue to exist alongside copper and moko skinks.   On the picture below copper (left top), moko (left bottom), and shore skinks (right).  Twenty-four copper skinks and eight moko skinks were caught (or observed) and all were in good condition.
  • Raukawa geckos were present in reasonable numbers at the release site, and we also detected an individual at Macrocarpa Bay indicating that they are dispersing.
  • Pacific geckos are showing promising signs of establishment including multiple adults, island-born juveniles and sub-adults, and individuals were found north of the release site during spotlighting.

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