Lizard salvage and relocation, North Canterbury

Transpower New Zealand commissioned Wildland Consultants Ltd in December 2012 to carry out an ecological survey and assessment of effects of the proposed clearance rectification for a span of the Benmore to Haywards A (BEN-HAY A) High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) transmission line.

The assessment identified that an area of the limestone ridge scheduled for earthworks provided habitat for two lizard species: Canterbury gecko (Woodworthia aff. brunnea) and common skink, Oligosoma polychroma (Clade 3).  It was also thought that a third species may occur at the site: McCanns’ skink (Oligosoma maccanni).  Canterbury gecko and common skink are both classified as “At Risk-Declining”, and McCann’s skink as “Not Threatened”. 

Transpower subsequently obtained a Wildlife Act Authority 35723-FAU from the Department of Conservation to salvage all three species of indigenous lizards from the works site, and to then release them within 500 m of the collection point.

In May 2013, Wildlands staff salvaged 26 Canterbury geckos and five common skinks from the works area and relocated them to high-quality crevices nearby.  Recommendations were also provided on when to undertake works to minimise adverse impacts on common skink.