Shakespear is home to a diverse range of New Zealand’s lizards, providing a refuge from the many threats to their survival. Of the nine species that exist in the Auckland mainland region, seven are known to be present at Shakespear.
Four species of native skink – copper skink, ornate skink, shore skink and moko skink – are present in reasonably healthy numbers and there are small and fragmented populations of the Auckland green gecko, the Pacific gecko and the forest gecko. When first observed here in 2004 the moko skink was known at only 3 or 4 mainland sites, although there are healthy populations on offshore islands.
Native lizards are very vulnerable to predation by introduced mammals, including domestic cats, and they are under further threat from destruction of their habitats. Unlike birds they cannot flee from bulldozer blades. Maintaining a pest-free environment at the sanctuary will enable lizards to flourish and establish healthy populations here, and should eventually allow other species to be relocated to the Park.