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Tiny skinks abound in sprayed dunes

Thursday, 14 July 2011 2:30 p.m.

Tiny native skinks or small lizards have been found in large numbers in Pāpāmoa sand dunes which have been recently sprayed to get rid of weeds, Bay of Plenty Regional Council has found.

Groups concerned about the effects of sprays had been worried that the use of herbicides on Tauranga's dunes would exterminate skink and other native populations, and had approached Tauranga City Council and the Minister of Conservation with their concerns. 

But Bay of Plenty Coast Care Co-ordinator Pim de Monchy said he had counted 15 shore skinks earlier this month while weeding dunes at Mōtītī Rd with a group of volunteers.  

"That area had been blanket-sprayed with Glyphosate and a surfactant, and spot treated with Triclopyr since Christmas. The predominantly weedy vegetation had all died off, but the skinks were found throughout, and in the adjacent native plants pingao and pohuehue," he said.

"We're delighted to find such strong populations of skinks in the dunes, and we haven't observed any lower numbers of skinks in sprayed areas compared with treated areas." 

Meanwhile Coast Care volunteers had already planted about 42,000 dune plants out of the 110,000 it intended to plant this season. Since 1 May when planting began for the year more than 1,000 people have helped out on dunes throughout the region.

For further media information please contactWarwick Murray, Group Manager Land Management on 0800 884 880, or Linda Thompson, Senior Communications Advisor, on direct dial 0800 884 881 ext 8149 or (021) 923 339.

Skink lowres