Conservation strategies

Whitaker's skink (Mercury Islands, Coromandel). © Jake Osborne
Whitaker's skink (Mercury Islands, Coromandel). 
© Jake Osborne

While the eradication of mammalian pest species will continue to be an important conservation focus in New Zealand, specific herpetofaunal conservation strategies include: captive breeding programmes, island restoration projects for extirpated populations (those which have been exterminated from their native locality), management of mainland habitats, and rehabilitation of resident lizard populations.

Herpetofauna play an important part in pollination, frugivory and associated seed dispersal, fulfilling key roles as predator and prey in food webs. As such our native herpetofauna have a significant place in conservation work, acting as indicator species for ecosystem health in New Zealand, particularly in places where mammalian predators have been removed (for example, Motuora Island).

Our membership is made up of members of the public as well as professional herpetologists, with many being actively involved in research and conservation projects, which have included:

  • Coromandel striped gecko breeding programme
  • Whitaker's skink breeding programme
  • Grand and Otago skink recovery programme
  • Motuora Island restoration programme
  • Rescue of moko skink at Whangamata harbour
  • Robust skink breeding programme


Strategies for NZ Herpetofauna have included:

Breed for release programs:

  • Robust skink breed for release program
  • Grand and Otago skink breeding program
  • Whitaker’s skink breeding program
  • Kapitia skink captive population (Auckland Zoo)
  • Cobble skink captive population (Auckland Zoo)
  • Duvaucel’s gecko breeding program
  • Barking gecko breeding program
  • Ngahere gecko breeding program
  • Northern striped gecko breeding program

Surveys and Monitoring:

  • Muriwai gecko surveys and population monitoring
  • Northern striped gecko monitoring (Auckland Zoo)
  • Archey’s frog monitoring
  • Cupola gecko surveys
  • Broad-cheeked gecko surveys
  • Bream head skink surveys
  • Oteake conservation area surveys
  • Marlborough Sounds reptile surveys
  • Fiordland reptile surveys

Large-scale pest control and pest-proof fencing:

  • Project Island Song (Northland)
  • Shakespear Regional Park (Auckland)
  • Tawharanui Regional Park (Auckland)
  • Hauraki Gulf Islands (Auckland)
  • Maungatautari (Waikato)
  • Cape Sanctuary (Hawke’s Bay)
  • Zealandia (Wellington)
  • Marlborough Sounds Islands (Marlborough)
  • Orokonui Ecosanctuary (Otago)

Recovery Plans:

Chevron Skink Recovery Plan - Part 2
Whitaker's and Robust Skink Recovery Plan - Part 2
Tuatara recovery plan, 2010-2011
Grand and Otago Skink Recovery Plan (1995)
Grand and Otago Skink Recovery Plan (2006-2016)
Striped Skink Recovery Plan - Part 2, 1998-2003
North Island Oligosoma spp. skink recovery plan, 2002-2012
Native frog (Leiopelma spp.) recovery plan, 2013-2018
Cyclodina spp. skink recovery plan, 1999-2004