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June19, 2001

Two More Illegal Lizards Turned In,
Breeding Pair

Honolulu - Two more illegal leopard geckos were turned in to the Honolulu Zoo by an unidentified male on Saturday (6/16). The geckos turned in appear to be a breeding pair, one male and one female carrying eggs, and were left with zoo staff in a brown paper bag. This is the third turn in of this species of illegal lizard since March 31 of this year, bringing the total number of surrendered leopard geckos to 11. Under the State's Amnesty Program, the owner of the animals is granted immunity from prosecution since they were voluntarily surrendered.

The leopard geckos are currently being held at the department's Plant Quarantine Station but will later be returned to the Honolulu Zoo for safekeeping until arrangements are made to ship them to the mainland.

A photo opportunity of the lizards is scheduled between 3:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. this afternoon at the Plant Quarantine Station, located at 701 Ilalo Street. Due to road construction in the area, take Cooke Street makai toward Kakaako Park and enter the gate after Ilalo Street.

Leopard geckos, Eublepharis macularius, are fairly known in the pet trade on the mainland, but illegal to possess in Hawaii. It gets is common name from its brown, black and white spotted appearance. They are native to Iran, India and Afghanistan and Pakistan and are known to be aggressive eaters whose diet consists of a variety of insects, especially crickets, meal worms, and even baby mice.

There have been no reports of leopard geckos in the wild in Hawaii, but the increasing number of surrenders is alarming.

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