Project: Survey for jewelled geckos (Naultinus gemmeus) in the Hunter Valley, north-west Otago.
Applicant information: Florence Gaud DOC Biodiversity Assets Ranger Department of Conservation http://www.ecogecko.co.nz/ Project outline: The jewelled gecko (Naultinus gemmeus) is a threatened gecko species predominantly found in Otago and Canterbury. The jewelled geckoâ€™s distribution is very patchy in Otago and regular observations have only been made on Otago Peninsula. Finding out more about Otago jewelled gecko populations outside of Otago Peninsula has become a high conservation priority, so that key sites can be identified and considered in conservation management. The Hunter Valley is one place that requires further survey in order to determine its significance, and is the only known jewelled gecko population in the Wanaka / Makarora area. We undertook a four day survey of the Hunter Valley in November 2012. This survey represented the first time the Hunter Valley had ever been surveyed specifically for jewelled geckos, although occasional sightings of jewelled geckos had been previously noted by Hunters and DOC staff. We found one jewelled gecko. This was only the third sighting of a jewelled gecko in the Hunter Valley since the 1980â€™s and the first sighting since 2006. We highly recommend that more survey work is undertaken in order to learn more about this population and the ecology of green geckos (Naultinus spp.) in beech forest. Species Information and threat status: Jewelled Gecko = Near Threatened Naultinus gemmeus has been assessed as Near Threatened due to its small area of occupancy, severely fragmented distribution, and continuing declines in the quality of habitat as well as population numbers. The threats imposed by introduced predators and exploitation for trade on international markets, as well as habitat degradation are all having a detrimental effect on N. gemmeus. However, population declines in the last ten years alone are not high enough to warrant a threat category at this time. This species almost qualifies for a threatened listing under criterion B2. Use & Trade: It is likely this species is collected illegally from the wild; however it is possible that it is also bred in captivity.
Auckland Zoo field conservation report - 2013 / 2014