Environment 60 Rare Tuatara Reptiles Moved to Predator-Free New Zealand Island


Life is made of the little things, live it well
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Rare reptiles known as tuatara (the last two species of the order Sphenodontia) survived the age of the dinosaurs, but the age of man has given them a bit more trouble. After living in New Zealand for millions of years, tuatara were completely wiped out on the country’s two main islands by invasive Polynesian rats (also known as kiore, Rattus exulans Peale) even before the arrival of European settlers (who brought their own rat species, the Norway rat, Rattus norvegicus). Today they only exist in sanctuaries and on three dozen smaller islands off the New Zealand coast.

Now tuatara have one more habitat to help ensure their long-term survival. On March 25, 60 tuatara were released on Motuihe Island, located a ferry’s ride away from the city of Auckland. The New Zealand Department of Conservation (DOC) and the Motuihe Trust spent many years ridding the island of non-native predators and other pests, making it a safe haven for many threatened species unique to New Zealand.

Read More: http://blogs.scientificamerican.com...tiles-moved-predator-free-new-zealand-island/
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