10 Mar 2011

German pair charged with stealing NZ geckos

10:45 am on 10 March 2011

Two Germans have been charged with stealing geckos native to New Zealand.

Four jewelled geckos were found when the men were arrested in Otago on Tuesday.

A spokesperson for the Department of Conservation, Reuben Williams, says two German tourists were jailed last year after trying to smuggle geckos out of New Zealand.

Mr Williams says the lizards are in danger of extinction and there are about 5000 left in the wild.

The geckos are popular in the illegal wildlife trade especially in parts of Europe, he says.