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Volunteers protecting Wairarapa lizards

Volunteers in action at the Ponatahi Lizard Sanctuary. PHOTOS/SUPPLIED

Eli Hill

Two weeks ago a group of 12 volunteers spent their Saturday putting in tracking tunnels at the Ponatahi Lizard Sanctuary.

The volunteer-run work is part of Sustainable Wairarapa’s Citizen Science project.

The tracking tunnels will be followed up in a couple of weeks with the installation of lizard monitoring equipment.

In November or December predator control stations will be put in place, including about 200 traps, as well as bait for mice.

Volunteer Jim O’Malley said they were targeting rats, weasels, hedgehogs, feral cats, ferrets and mice.

“The enclosure was built around a lizard hotspot, there are five species but one lizard in particular, the spotted skink, is quite rare.”

“It’s only known in two locations in the lower North Island – Tim and Jenny Hewitt’s farm is one of them.

“The only other location is the Wainuiomata River in Lower Hutt.”

The sanctuary pest control project is going to become a long-term one – but Sustainable Wairarapa also has several short term projects on the go – including surveys of lizards, native moths, birds, bats, and katipo numbers and populations throughout Wairarapa.

  • People who want to volunteer can contact Jim on 027 821 9216.

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