The Zoo is passionate about saving animals in the wild and contributing to local conservation. Since the end of 2016, the Zoo has been working with The Department of Conservation (DOC) to assist with the monitoring of the endemic Wellington Green Gecko and Ngahere Gecko on Matiu Somes Island.

Gecko in the shrubs

See if you can spot the Wellington Green Gecko!

The Zoo is particularly interested in preserving the Wellington Green Gecko as they are an iconic local species of Gecko that is under threat due to predation on the mainland. It’s also a fantastic opportunity for Zoo staff to get involved in local conservation supporting native and endemic reptiles, as well as gaining new skills in reptile handling and monitoring.

In an effort to boost the population of the species, DOC re-introduced more than 90 Wellington Green Geckos on Matiu Somes Island between 2006 and 2013. 

Zoo staff on Matiu Somes Island

Zoo staff on Matiu Somes Island

Each month from October through to the end of April, we send four Zoo staff members to survey the island and collect data on these Geckos to see how they are tracking.  Since the start of our monitoring we have found two Wellington Green Geckos but we have yet to spot a Ngahere Gecko on the island.

Both the Ngahere and Wellington Green Geckos are incredibly difficult to spot on the island due to their colouring and markings. To make it easier to spot the Ngahere Geckos, Zoo staff have placed foam covers  over tree trunks as it provides an ideal habitat for them.

Our community can encourage native Geckos, like the Wellington Green into their gardens at home by keeping your cat inside at night, and by planting more native vegetation like mānuka, kānuka and coprosma.