Regulations for keeping native lizards


All of New Zealand’s native lizard species (geckos and skinks) are absolutely protected under the Wildlife Act 1953. ‘Absolute protection’ means that no native lizards may be collected from the wild, held in possession, or handled or distributed in any way, without written authority (a permit). The only legitimate source of lizards (unless you have a permit to obtain animals from elsewhere) is another authorised holder. The NZHS, the Department of Conservation, and the Society for Reptile and Amphibian Research in New Zealand (SRANZ) can advise on who to contact for captive lizards. There are several categories of authority for holding lizards. New keepers will need to demonstrate competence with common species before they are permitted to hold rarer species. Rare species may only be kept by very experienced holders and may contribute to approved conservation programmes. Keepers are required to submit an annual return to the Department of Conservation detailing the number of lizards held each October.

For more information on which permits visit DOC's 'holding lizards in captivity' webpage.


New Zealand is part of CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora), an international agreement between governments aiming to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival. New Zealand authorities nominate species to be included in the CITES list. A full list of NZ CITES listed species.