18 December 2020
This month the final lizard monitoring stations were set up at Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari, with 80 permanent survey stations installed in two main blocks within the 63ha mouse-free Southern Enclosure. Each station consists of two stacked Artificial Cover Objects (ACO’s), a tracking tunnel and a tree cover. The tracking tunnels are used to discover lizard foot prints at the time of the survey, by luring them to walk over tracking cards; whilst the ground covers provide shelter for skinks and the tree covers provide shelter for geckos.
This was a fantastic team effort with a new team of lizard survey volunteers. Lizard expert Moniqua Nelson-Tunley from Waikato Regional Council ran a training session for the volunteers, covering catching and handling skinks and geckos, photographing, measuring and species identification. All these volunteers subsequently turned up to assist in setting up the stations over the past couple of months which are 50 metres apart and use existing pest monitoring lines.
It’s important not to disturb these stations so if you do see them when visiting, please don’t let your curiosity spoil the survey by lifting or disturbing any of these stations. The plan is to conduct surveys twice a year, with the first due in the next month or so. As the stations are all new, it may be some time before they come into good use by local lizards, but we look forward to sharing the results with you of the first and subsequent surveys.