Save the Otago Peninsula

The environmental group, Save the Otago Peninsula Inc (STOP) received a grant of $1,375 to provide plants to enhance the habitat of the Jewelled gecko which is currently in decline, and encourage population growth.

Over the last few years the population of Jewelled geckos, a species native to the South Island of New Zealand, is known to have declined by at least 200 geckos. The need to enhance their natural environment and encourage food sources to flourish is urgent to help increase their numbers.

The decline of the Jewelled gecko population is due to a combination of impacts on their environment. Predation by rodents, poaching for the animal black market, and isolation of suitable remnants containing food plants have all contributed to the Jewelled gecko being listed as in decline. To combat these threats predator-proof fencing was erected in 1993 and habitats undergo constant protection, but environmental enhancement is still necessary.

“We are delighted with the funding provided by the Mazda Foundation, it will allow us to improve the Jewelled gecko’s natural environment and hopefully cause numbers to increase. They are a native species to New Zealand and so it is important we work hard to protect them,” says, Lala Frazer, spokesperson for Save the Otago Peninsula.

The donation from the Mazda Foundation will be used by volunteers from Save the Otago Peninsula group to plant Kanuka, Corokia and Coprosma plants both within a reserve and to join isolated remnants. Kanuka in particular provides a good habitat as it shades over grass, reducing mice numbers, and geckos become less accessible to poachers.