Rare lizard spotted spotted at Canopy Tours

2016 – We’ve got some great news from us here at Canopy Tours – I’ve had confirmation that we have spotted and photographed one of New Zealand’s least known and rarely seen lizards – the Striped Skink on one of our Eco Tours!

Recently during one of our eco tours through the forest, two of our guides and a group of ten excited customers spotted the skink hanging out on the side of an ancient Rimu tree. This tree towers seven stories in the sky, on our highest zipline platform.Striped skink nz

Photo: Rare lizzard – Striped skink was found while on a zipline tour at Rotorua Canopy Tours. 

Fewer than 150 Striped Skinks have ever been recorded in the wild and their actual population size is not known. According to DOC this sighting is the most Easterly sighting recorded – something we’re all very excited about! Only two of these rare lizards have ever been found in the Rotorua region, both being around 20-30 years ago!

New Zealand is home to approximately 99 species of Gecko and Skink. Of these, one-third are found nowhere else in the world. Interestingly, about 50% of these have only been discovered in the last 20 years. So little is known about Striped Skinks that scientists have not had an opportunity to study them properly. Finding this one so high off the ground adds to the belief that they are mainly arboreal, spending most of their time in tree canopies in amongst epiphytes.Canopy Tours conservation project new zealand

Photo: Fewer than 150 of these lizzards have ever been recorded, making this an increadibly exciting discovery for the team. 

Stoats and Rats are a huge threat to Striped Skinks. This sighting is more proof that the pest control we do in the Dansey Road Scenic Reserve is working, reducing predators and creating a safe home for Striped Skinks and our other native animals to bread and thrive.

Who knows what else we will discover as the forest…come on our Rotorua Eco Tour and see what you can spot!

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