About $15,000 has been spent on swanky new digs for 56 lizards whose homes happened to be in the path of the Transmission Gully motorway.
Major earthworks are just months away from starting on the four-lane, 27-kilometre inland motorway between Porirua and Paekakariki, north of Wellington.
But before the diggers can rip in, the business consortium building the $850 million road has had to figure out what to do with the native reptiles and worms who call Transmission Gully home.
So we spent $15,000 on moving 56 geckos?
If the geckos were a unique species, and their loss would reduce our biodiversity, then moving them is desirable.
But if they were just 56 geckos out of several million we have in NZ, then isn’t this over the top?
All the species were considered “at-risk” but not endangered, he said.
What does at risk mean? The categories in NZ in order are:
- Acutely Threatened – Nationally Critical
- Acutely Threatened – Nationally Endangered
- Acutely Threatened – Nationally Vulnerable
- Chronically Threatened – Serious Decline
- Chronically Threatened – Gradual Decline
- At Risk – Range Restricted
- At Risk – Sparse
- Not Threatened
As I said it is a no brainer you move species when they are acutely threatened. Subject to cost also desirable for chronically threatened. But merely being at risk, I don’t think $15,000 on 57 geckos is a good use of money.