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Oligosoma otagense (c) JamesReardon.org | by JamesReardon.org
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Oligosoma otagense (c) JamesReardon.org

The Otago skink, Oligosoma otagense. These magnificent lizards are pretty much all that is left of the endemic megafauna of the Otago region of New Zealand's South Island. These large skinks grow to about 30cms total length and now only persist in intensively managed habitat where predators are either excluded entirely with fences or are controlled to low levels with trapping. The introduction of non-native species such as mice, rats, cats, ferrets, stoats, weasels, hedgehogs and possum have spelled the doom of New Zealand's increadibel lizard fauna and only dramatic conservation actions stand between them and extinction. Image copyright James Reardon, Last Planet Ltd. and JamesReardon.org

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Taken on January 14, 2006