A jeweled gecko that was smuggled out of New Zealand to Germany before being repatriated home has had to be put down.
The gecko, called Manawa, was smuggled out of New Zealand in 2010 before being seized from the illegal pet trade and returned to the country in 2016.
The museum announced in a statement on Tuesday Manawa had been euthanised due to poor health.
Due to concerns regarding the bio security risk to New Zealand’s environment, Manawa was required to stay in containment at Otago Museum in a purpose-built terrarium.
Over the past year, Manawa had become “increasingly unwell” and had been taken to the Dunedin Wildlife Hospital for treatment, the museum said.
As his age was unknown, his failing health may have been due to natural progression.
“Sadly, the hospital team reported a notable decrease in his quality of life. He lost interest in food and his continued medical treatments were not proving effective. The vets at the Wildlife Hospital advised euthanasia as the humane option,” the museum said.
The gecko, whose name means heart in Maori, was believed to be the first endemic wild animal poached from New Zealand to be successfully repatriated.
“Manawa captured the heart of Otago, and his name reflected this,” the museum said.