Progress Report

March 2005
The Central Otago Ecological Trust was formed
November 2005
The Trust was officially launched by the then Prime Minister Helen Clarke.
11 Otago skinks were returned to Alexandra for first time since their local extinction in the 1970s
December 2005
Three Otago skinks were donated to the Alexandra Museum for live public display
October 2006
Beginning of habitat restoration (removing introduced weeds) at site proposed for skink release into the wild
January 2006 First newborn Otago skinks in captivity in Central Otago
June 2009
Construction of herbivore-proof fence to protect restored habitat for skinks
July 2009
Construction of predator-proof fence (Mokomoko Dryland Sanctuary) for translocation of skinks
September 2009
Beginning of native re-plantings to restore habitat for skinks
November 2009 Official opening of Mokomoko Dryland Sanctuary and release of 12 Otago skinks
May 2010 Trustpower Community Award (Regional Winner for Heritage and Environment)
September 2010
Otago Conservation Award
January 2011 First sighting of two baby Otago skinks born in Mokomoko Dryland Sanctuary (refer Issue # 9 for more information). Another baby seen in February.
December 2011 Released another 16 Otago skinks (3 progeny of wild skinks)
January 2012 Incursion of mice through fence and observation of mice attacking skinks and reducing their survival . Mice eradicated several months later.
March 2012 Four new baby skinks found
May 2012 Trustpower Community Award (Overall regional winner for Central Otago)
March 2013 Completion of larger (14 ha) fence (Mokomoko Dryland Sanctuary) for larger lizard translocations

In the Media & Community

The Trust has undertaken various activities with the media and with the public, including the following:

  • As part of their “Meet the Locals” TV series, DOC filmed and interviewed Trustees about their role in lizard conservation with the Central Otago Ecological Trust.
    Watch: Meet the Locals: Otago Skinks
  • Radio NZ interviewed the Trust inside the predator-proof fence before the skink were released
    Listen: Our Changing World: Giant Skink Reserve
  • North & South magazine interviewed the Trust about their work to help save the Otago Skink from extinction. “Skink on the Brink: the Mokomoko finds a champion”. North & South Magazine, April 2008, Issue 265, p 27.
  • We provided the Alexandra Primary School with an excellent lizard teaching curriculum written by Richard Romijn of the Greater Wellington Regional Council, and helped the school integrate this into their sustainability teaching theme for the next few years.
  • We provided photographs of Otago skinks to artist, Alan Waters. Alan has produced several high-quality paintings and sales have started. This is another way of promoting awareness of these iconic fauna.
  • A teacher from Maniototo Area School (Fiona Mackley) interviewed the Trust about the potential for ecotourism opportunities via the lizard conservation initiatives of the Trust. Fiona is completing a Post Graduate Diploma in Tourism by dissertation.
  • We have assisted with the production of a children’s book about the plight of Otago skinks by Pam Chapman.
    More about this book and how to purchase it.