dryland environments contain
the most transformed, least protected and most threatened native
One of the special features of Central Otago
drylands is the high diversity of native lizards. However, a number of
have disappeared and many others are struggling to survive in remnant
The Otago skink is one of the most
in New Zealand.
They used to be abundant across their former range but are now
restricted to 8%
of that area in two disjunct, relict populations. Otago skinks were
the Alexandra basin in the 1970s but have now disappeared. They are at
extinction in the wild within a decade primarily due to introduced
Research by the Department of Conservation shows that eradication or
control of introduced predatory mammals can reverse their decline.
The Central Otago Ecological Trust
(COET) is a group of Alexandra residents with interests in
wildlife conservation and community participation. Our vision is to see
inspired and enthusiastic community that is actively involved in
diverse population of lizard species that once flourished in the dry
basins of Otago. Therefore, in March 2005 we formed a charitable trust
consisting of seven trustees and four advisors. We are
formal partners with DOC’s Grand and Otago Skink Recovery Programme.
Our main goals are to: