New Zealand Journal of Ecology (2021) 45(1): 3432

Penned release reduces area use by translocated barking geckos (Naultinus punctatus)

Research Article
Tom P. Flynn-Plummer 1
Joanne M. Monks 1,2*
  1. Department of Zoology, University of Otago, P O Box 56, Dunedin 9054, New Zealand
  2. Biodiversity Group, Department of Conservation, P O Box 5244, Dunedin 9054, New Zealand
*  Corresponding author

Globally, translocations of herpetofauna have been notoriously unsuccessful. Most previous translocations of green geckos (Naultinus spp.) have failed to result in population establishment. However, recent penned releases of jewelled geckos (moko kākāriki; Naultinus gemmeus) have led to increased site fidelity, reduced dispersal, reduced home range sizes, and reduced minimum daily movements, facilitating population establishment. The success of these penned releases prompted use of the method in a translocation of 19 barking geckos (Naultinus punctatus) to Mana Island, New Zealand, the first application of the technique to this species. We evaluated the effect of penning on area use by geckos over a three-month penned period followed by a two-week un-penned period. We aimed to determine whether barking gecko area use decreased over time, which can be an early indication of territory establishment. Mean barking gecko area use decreased significantly throughout the study, supporting previous work on jewelled geckos that suggests penning is an effective tool for translocations of green geckos and may also be beneficial to other lizard taxa.