By Stephanie Angove-Emery
One of the main goals of an ecologist is to maintain a balance between the environment and urban development, especially in the Auckland Region! Fortunately, in New Zealand, we care about our unique environment enough to put forth consent conditions to protect native flora and fauna from these impacts.
One of Ecology New Zealand’s latest projects was implementing a Herpetological Management Plan for the construction of a new railway crossing in Newmarket. A population of native lizards was known to be in/around the location of the new crossing, so it was crucial to use our whole bag of tricks to salvage as many lizards as possible.
By working with arborists and some very helpful digger drivers, our herpetologists were able to salvage over 50 copper skinks (Oligosoma aeneum), many of them gravid. This was a much higher number than anticipated and reinforces the value of teamwork across disciplines. Not only were we able to save a population of native skinks, we also stumbled upon a hot spot for giant centipedes (Cormocephalus rubriceps) and were able to relocate them as well.