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12 illegal reptiles turned in to state in recent weeks

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 8:24 p.m. HST, Jul 18, 2011

A dozen illegal animals have been turned in to the state Department of Agriculture over a recent two-week period, officials announced today.

After a boa constrictor was found near the Waiawa Gulch July 4, 11 other reptiles have been turned into the Department of Agriculture. They include three snakes — two boa constrictors and a python — and eight  lizards, including three bearded dragons, a blue-tongued skink, a tegu lizard, an iguana and two leopard geckos.

Eleven of the animals were turned in under the state’s amnesty program.

The Department of Agriculture’s Plant Quarantine Branch will hold the reptiles until arrangements can be made to send them to a Mainland reptile farm.

Snakes and large lizards pose a serious threat to Hawaii’s environment because they compete with native animal populations for food and habitat, the department said.

People who have illegal animals are encouraged to turn them in under the state’s amnesty program, which provides immunity from prosecution. Illegal animals may be turned in to any DOA office, Honolulu Zoo, Panewa Zoo in Hilo or any Humane Society office. There will be no questions asked upon turning in an animal and no fines assessed. 

People caught with an illegal animal are subject to the maximum penalty of a $200,000 fine and up to three years in prison.

Anyone with information on illegal animals should call the Pest Hotline at 643-7378.

NOTE: A previous version of this incorrectly said six of the animals were turned in.

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