The Press: Skinks slink to new home

David Williams reports in The Press on the moving of several endangered skinks to a new ‘skinkery’ which, it is hoped, will help their populations to begin to recover.

Introduced predators have decimated the skinks’ populations, which are now more threatened than the kiwi, and potentially as threatened as the kakapo and takehe, according to Conservation Minister Kate Wilkinson.

An excerpt: (read in full here)

“Five Otago skinks were transferred to Peacock Springs in 2009 as a trial.

“”People don’t know much about them, but they can grow up to 35 centimetres long,” he said.

“Once found right across Otago, the skinks number only a couple of thousand of each species at Macraes Flat.

“Introduced predators such as stoats, rats and weasels have severely cut the population since the 1970s. The Grand and Otago Skink Recovery Programme was established in 2002 after evidence suggested both species could be extinct within 15 years.

“The Isaac Wildlife Trust had gone to great lengths to build the skinks’ enclosure, including trucking in the right kind of schist stone from Central Otago.”