Coastal Restoration Trust of New Zealand

Coastal Dune Ecosystem Reference Database

Chatham Island oystercatcher report of 1999/2000 field season DOC Publication

Moore, P.; O'Connor, S.; Hedley, G.; Goomes, R.
Journal / Source
Science & Research Internal Report
Publisher / Organisation
Department of Conservation
The distribution and abundance of lizards at Pukerua Bay, Wellington were studied between December 1982 and March 1988, with particular emphasis on habitat use by Whitaker's skink (Cyclodina whitakeri), a threatened species with only one known mainland population. Pitfall traps were set for 23 667 trap-days and yielded 2897 lizard captures. Highest capture rate was for common skinks (Leiolopisma nigriplantare polychroma) and lowest rate was for Whitaker's skink. Of the five lizard species at Pukerua Bay, Whitaker's skink had the narrowest habitat range, was most sensitive to climatic conditions, and had the slowest growth rate. These features, in combination with predation, and habitat disturbance and degradation, have resulted in critically low numbers of Whitaker's skinks. Because of the proximity of the study site to Pukerua Bay township direct management of predators using poisons will be unsuitable. The area is also a high fire risk. The continuing threats are such that Whitaker's skink at Pukerua Bay should continue to be regarded as highly vulnerable. A series of management possibilities to lessen these threats is provided. It is recommended that threats to the lizard assemblage, and especially to Whitaker's skink, from disturbance, predation and fire could be minimised through a managed revegetation programme.