$5000 camera grant for skink sanctuary

Helping re-establish skinks to the Alexandra Basin has earned the Central Otago Ecological Trust a further grant.

It has been named as one of four recipients of a 2013 Canon Environmental Grant, worth $5000 of Canon products.

The trust runs the Mokomoko Dryland Sanctuary near Alexandra, home to a small group of captive-bred Otago skinks.

Part of the restoration effort requires monitoring to record the presence of the animals and check for any new ones that might be born in the wild, trust chairman Grant Norbury said.

They used an old camera owned by the Department of Conservation but are about to extend the sanctuary, meaning the skinks would spread out and they would need more equipment to record them, which is why they chose to spend their grant money on a digital SLR camera.

''Photographing recognisable individuals is a tried-and-proven method of carrying out accurate monitoring of these species without disturbing them,'' Dr Norbury said.

The trust received a $150,000 grant from the Central Lakes Trust recently which is being put towards the $300,000 cost of a new predator-proof fence that will extend the sanctuary from 0.3ha to 14ha. Along with previous grants, that bumped them up to about $225,000.

Other winners:School Award - Wellington Zoo, teaching school children in Wellington about native flora and fauna.

Tertiary Award - Massey University (Albany campus, Auckland), researching the regeneration of the orange-fronted parakeet.

Regional Award - ARRC Wildlife Trust (Tauranga), rescuing and protecting injured and orphaned wildlife in the Bay of Plenty.

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