422 protected Clouded monitor lizards seized in Malaysia

Deisree Tresa Gasper The Star 22 Sep 10;

KLUANG: Wildlife authorities seized 422 clouded monitor lizards and detained two men who were transporting the protected species at Kampung Gajah here.

“The lizards were wrapped in nets and placed in fruit crates and were being transported in a lorry,” said Johor Wildlife and National Parks (Perhilitan) director Razak Majid.

He said the two men, aged 30 and 32, were believed to have been attempting to smuggle the reptiles to neighbouring countries.

Perhilitan officers stopped the lorry following a tip-off yesterday.

“The lizards are much sought-after for their meat, which is believed to have medicinal benefits,” said Razak. He was unsure if the animals were caught in the local jungles but he said they would be released into their natural habitat soon. It is learned that the lizards can be sold for as much as RM100 each, depending on the size. The clouded monitor lizard is a totally protected species under the Protection of Wildlife Act 1972.

422 monitor lizards rescued
New Straits Times 22 Sep 10;

KLUANG: The state Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan) rescued 422 monitor lizards worth more than RM40,000 in Kampung Gajah here yesterday.

A 32-year-old lorry driver and his 30-year-old attendant were detained.

State Perhilitan director Razak Majid said the arrests were made at 7pm while the suspects were loading the animals onto the vehicle.

Razak said all the monitor lizards were alive. They were each kept in a small bag and covered with a plastic sheet used to keep vegetables during transportation.

"The suspects were from Pahang and believed to be animal wholesalers on their way to sell the monitor lizards to their buyers."