News Release: January 2, 2002

Posted on Jan 2, 2002 in 2002 News Releases, News-Releases

NR02-01 January 2, 2001

Three-Foot-Long Iguana Captured at Turtle Bay Golf Course

Honolulu – An iguana was captured on Monday, December 31st at the Turtle Bay Golf Course in Kahuku. The three-foot-long iguana was spotted by a golf course maintenance person, who picked it up and held it at the hotel’s security office until animal specialists from the Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA) arrived. The lizard is being kept at the Plant Quarantine Station.

A photo opportunity for interested media will be held today between 2:00 p.m. and 3 p.m. at the Plant Quarantine Branch, 701 Ilalo Street. Due to major road construction in the area, please head makai on Keawe Street and enter through the back of the building, which faces the Food Distribution Center.

Although iguanas are believed to be established in Waimanalo on Oahu, it is illegal to possess or transport iguanas in Hawaii. A report of iguanas in the Kahuku area is rare. When fully grown, iguanas may reach up to six feet in length from head to toe. Its tail can be quite powerful, acting as a dangerous weapon in fending off enemies. Native to central Mexico through South America, iguanas are typically vegetarians, but are known to disturb bird nestlings and feed on eggs. It is not known of the iguana was a pet or wild; however, the area in which this iguana was found is bordered by hedges of red hibiscus which provides a favored and ample food source.

Persons possessing illegal animals are subject to stiff penalties, including fines of up to $200,000 and up to three years in jail. Individuals with illegal pets are encouraged to turn them in under the department’s Amnesty Program. Anyone with information or knowledge of illegal animals in Hawaii is asked to call the department’s PEST HOTLINE at 586-PEST(7378).