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Lure, Trap & Retreat captures NZ innovation

Posted by Louisa McKerrow (Admin) 8 months ago Posted in News

Simple and sophisticated, a clever trap design is taking lizard capture and monitoring to the next level.
 
Winning a 2015 WWF Conservation Innovation Award and $25,000 funding, Trent Bell of EcoGecko Consultants was able to take one of the product ideas in EcoGecko’s “Lure, Trap &, Retreat” programme to a prototype that can now be tested in the field.
 
Open until Friday, 14 October, WWF-New Zealand’s 2016 Conservation Innovation Awards (CIA) are designed to seek out and reward innovation for those on the frontline of conservation. Prize packages of $25,000 will be awarded to each of the three winning entries. All ideas are welcome. Entries must be submitted via wwf-nz.crowdicity.com and attract 30 votes by 5pm, 14 October.
 
CIA funding contributed to EcoGecko’s product research, technical drawings, 3D modelling, production of a prototype, and field testing. The product is now in the 3D design stage.

“Without such funding from WWF and The Tindall Foundation, an improved lizard trap may have never become reality,” Mr Bell said.
 
"This CIA financial support has enabled me to develop a new lizard pitfall trap, improving upon a method that has not changed since the 1920s.
 
“Now we are on the way with a new, secure trap that will lead to improved captures by increasing trap attractiveness and reduced trap escapability, the safe holding of animals once in the trap, the prevention of opportunistic predation of trapped animals, and other trap disturbances.
 
“This means improved lizard population monitoring information for scientific research, conservation management, and ecological restoration for these cryptic critters.
 
“This new trap design will have a wider global appeal and people in Australia, the UK, Europe and the USA have been showing a strong interest in the product.”
 
Lizards play a vital role within the New Zealand ecosystem – important as both predators and prey components and they have a function pollinating flowers and spreading seeds by consuming fruits. 
 
Mr Bell said there were more than 100 endemic lizard species currently known across the country, however, today 88% of our lizards were classified as Threatened or At Risk by the Department of Conservation.

“Not enough is known about our native lizards, despite their precarious conservation position, because of their cryptic behaviour and at times, low abundance. Lizards can be very difficult to survey or monitor.”  

This post was edited on Oct 13, 2016 by Louisa McKerrow

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