Agence France-Presse. (2005, January 26). Malaysia rescues monitor lizards from Hong Kong cooking pots. [Online]. Available: http://www.terradaily.com/2005/050126035638.scmxbtvp.html [2008, April 4].
Malaysia; monitor lizard; Hong Kong; bushmeat; exotic cuisine; smuggling; enforcement; release
Malaysian wildlife authorities seized nearly 1,000 monitor lizards as they were about to be flown to Hong Kong where they would have ended up in cooking pots, local media said Wednesday.
Wildlife Department officers acting on a tip-off discovered the 999 monitor lizards, which are a protected species, in 70 wooden boxes loaded onto a cargo plane, the department's enforcement unit deputy director Celescoriano Razond said.
All monitor lizards are listed as threatened animals by the UN's Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) and require permits for export.
The animals would have been sold as exotic cuisine in hotels and restaurants in Hong Kong, fetching prices of between 20 to 25 ringgitdollars) per kilogram, Razond said.
Each monitor lizard weighs between three and five kilograms, making the cargo worth more than 100,000 ringgit.
The rescued monitor lizards would soon be released in the country's jungles, he said.