Pleased with Jewelled Gecko's return

Waitaki news
Sunday, April 19, 2015

I'm pleased two jewelled geckos unlawfully taken and smuggled to Germany from New Zealand 18 months ago have been returned home.

Having introduced the Conservation Natural Heritage BIll to Parliament to stop the theft of wildlife and increase penalities for doing so I note with some pleasure the reptile's return is a first for New Zealand.

"Unfortunately poaching and predators remain the biggest threats to our small natural treasures. On the plus side however is that the message our country won't tolerate the theft of our native taonga is getting out there. "

The geckos had been cared for at Cologne Zoo after German authorities seized the reptiles from a smuggler in December 2013.

Mrs Dean said the only downside was as the geckos had been exposed to potential biosecurity threats overseas they could now never be returned to the wild to mix with other native fauna.