A green gecko that has spent all its life at the Fiordland National Park Visitor Centre in Te Anau has been stolen.

Department of Conservation staff are distressed at the loss of the gecko, which was housed at the entrance to the centre.

The Marlborough green gecko, Naultinus manukanus, is a species classified as at-risk.

The Te Anau gecko was reported missing on July 19, the Department of Conservation said. The padlock to its terrarium was missing - and marks on the latch suggest it was forced or cut.

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Marlborough green gecko at Fiordland Visitor Centre. Photo / DoC
Marlborough green gecko at Fiordland Visitor Centre. Photo / DoC

DoC Te Anau operations manager Greg Lind said the gecko had been a Te Anau resident for more than 30 years.

"The gecko has a distinctive grey mark on its head and would be easily identified. It's our longest serving advocacy animal in Fiordland, and staff just want it back safe.

"It has outlived another gecko which used to share its terrarium.

"The police have been notified, and we are asking everyone to keep their eyes open."

The terrarium is near the entrance of the visitor centre, allowing the gecko to welcome visitors.

Food and leaves were placed in the terrarium mid-afternoon last Sunday. Yesterday, it was noticed the padlock had been removed and the gecko was missing.

"It is distressing to think this animal, that has lived in one place all its life, may be subjected to uncomfortable experiences," Lind said.

The Marlborough green gecko, also known as the manuka gecko, is endemic to New Zealand and can grow up to 70mm long.

• Anyone with information about the missing gecko is asked to contact the Te Anau police or the Te Anau DOC office on 03-249 0200.