Inventory and monitoring of biodiversity requires effective sampling tools. Footprint tracking tunnels, developed in New Zealand to monitor small mammals, may also be useful for sampling lizards and other reptiles but more research is needed to verify this. We compared the detectability of terrestrial skinks using two methods: pitfall trapping and footprint tracking. In New Zealand, the former is the traditional method for sampling skinks, while the latter is routinely used to monitor populations of introduced rodents and mustelids.
Monitoring is important in conservation management, essential for assessing population trends, making decisions and allocating resources. Artificial retreats can offer a reliable, low impact and efficient method for monitoring cryptic herpetofauna. Methods for monitoring artificial retreats vary between different conservation management programmes in New Zealand, however, and a deeper understanding of the causes of these variations would encourage greater standardisation and enable more reliable comparisons to be made across temporal and spatial scales.