Archived content: This media release was accurate on the date of publication. 


An endangered Marlborough green gecko, a long-term resident at the Fiordland National Park Visitor Centre, has been stolen.

Date:  20 July 2017

The Marlborough green gecko, Naultinus manukanus, was reported missing on 19 July. The padlock to its terrarium was absent, and marks on the latch point toward this having been forced or cut.  

Malborough Green Gecko.
The Marlborough Green Gecko (left). Note grey mark on head.
Image: DOC

Greg Lind, DOC Operations Manager (Te Anau), said that the gecko had been a Te Anau resident for over 30 years.

“The gecko has a distinctive grey mark on its head and would be easily identified. It’s our longest serving advocacy animal in Fiordland, and staff just want it back safe.”

“It has outlived another gecko which used to share its terrarium.”

“The police have been notified, and we are asking everyone to keep their eyes open.”

The terrarium is placed near the entrance to the Fiordland National Park Visitor Centre, allowing the gecko to welcome all visitors to the area.

The terrarium was refreshed with food and leaves mid-afternoon on 16 July. When the Ranger returned three days later, the padlock had been removed and the gecko was missing.

“It is distressing to think this animal, that has lived in one place all its life, may be subjected to uncomfortable experiences”, Greg Lind said.  

The Marlborough green gecko, also known as the manuka gecko, is endemic to New Zealand. The gecko, which can grow up to 70 mm long, is classified as an At Risk species.

Anyone with information about the missing gecko should contact Te Anau police or the Te Anau DOC office (03 249 0200). 

Additional information

  • There are two kinds of lizards in New Zealand – geckos and skinks.
  • Geckos have broad heads with large bulging eyes, clearly defined necks, and soft, velvety-looking skin that is covered in very small, granular scales.
  • Skinks are slenderer with narrow heads and small eyes. Skinks have smooth, shiny, fish-like scales on the surface of their skin.
  • Both groups can lose their tails, which can distract predators (rats, cats, stoats, possums and tuatara) while the animal escapes. The tail takes up to two years to re-grow.
  • They eat mainly insects (flies, spiders, moths), fruit (berries) and nectar.
  • Geckos may be important seed dispersers and pollinators for certain native plants.


Kate Hebblethwaite, Senior Ranger (Community)
Phone: +64 3 249 0237
Mobile: +64 2753 66728

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