News Release: May 17, 2002

Posted on May 17, 2002 in 2002 News Releases, News-Releases

NR02-09 May 17, 2002

Monitor Lizard Turned In Under Amnesty

Honolulu – An 18-inch Savannah Monitor Lizard (Varanus exanthematicus) was turned in to the Honolulu Zoo under the state’s Amnesty Program yesterday afternoon. Monitor lizards are illegal to import or possess in Hawaii. The lizard was turned over to zoo officials by a group of five people. No other information was provided.

Monitor lizards are native to most of the African continent. They are carnivorous with a diet that consists of earthworms, crickets and rodents. Savannah monitor lizards can grow to be three-and-a-half-feet long and weigh up to 12 pounds. They can be aggressive with a powerful bite and sharp claws.

A photo opportunity of the monitor lizard is scheduled this afternoon between 3:00 to 3:30 p.m. at the Plant Quarantine Branch, 701 llalo Street (corner of Cooke and Ilalo Streets).

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 voluntarily turn them in under the department’s Amnesty Program, which offers immunity from prosecution. Anyone with information or knowledge of illegal animals in Hawaii is asked to call the department’s PEST HOTLINE at 586-PEST(7378).