A Moko-kakariki Jewelled Gecko has returned to Otago after being smuggled into Germany from its home in Otago Peninsula three years ago.
The Gecko was one of two smuggled from Otago Peninsula to Germany in 2013. The Geckos were returned to New Zealand last year and while one of them died from natural causes, the other was nursed back to health by our expert team of Veterinarians at The Nest Te Kōhanga.
Because the Gecko may have been exposed to unknown biosecurity threats overseas, he can’t safely return to the wild, so the Gecko will live out the rest of his life at Otago Museum.
On Sunday, Zoo staff travelled with the Gecko down to Otago where he was officially welcomed to his new home at the Museum by Te Rūnanga o Ōtākou, museum staff, the Department of Conservation, Setpoint Solutions and other parties involved in its return.
Jewelled Geckos are culturally significant for the tangata whenua of Otago because they are considered a taoka (treasure). You can help stop the illegal international reptile trade by reporting suspicious activities and vehicle licence numbers to the 24 hour hotline, 0800 DOC HOT (0800 362 468).
You can now view the Gecko in his new purpose-built terrarium at Otago Museum.