Geckos find new home in Riccarton Bush
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Native geckos have found a new home in Riccarton Bush as part of a Lyttelton Port Company project supported by the Department of Conservation.

Last month Dr Graham Ussher and his team from RMA Ecology safely captured Waitaha geckos from the Gollans Bay quarry and released them in Riccarton Bush.

The eastern part of the Gollans Bay quarry has not been quarried before, and is being used as part of LPC’s Te Awaparahi Bay Reclamation project, creating an expanded container terminal to keep up with shipping demands.

Some of the area is habitat for New Zealand native Waitaha gecko, and LPC recently gained a Wildlife permit from the Department of Conservation which sets out how the company must manage the effects on geckos.

The team aimed to catch all the geckos within the salvage area, which will include young lizards as well as adults which could be over 20 years old. The geckos have been released into tall native forest at Riccarton Bush. It is estimated over 80 have been released.

Riccarton Bush was chosen because it has 7.8 hectares of established forest surrounded by a state-of-the-art pest and mammal-proof fence that keeps out predators such as rats and cats.

Department of Conservation’s Community Ranger Rachel Brown says a similar release of geckos was done in 2012 as part of the Sumner Road recovery project.

“Those geckos have been regularly seen by visitors and the Riccarton Bush Trust Ranger, so it is fantastic to see more of these native creatures safely relocated.”

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