9 Feb 2008

PNG may have a Komodo Dragon running loose

11:59 am on 9 February 2008

A large lizard in has created a flurry of excitement in North West Papua New Guinea, with speculation that it might be an escaped Komodo Dragon.

A reptile has been reported around Lae city, but there are no Komodo Dragons known to be held in captivity in the area.

Dr Gae Gowae of the Department of the Environment says they can't act before confirming what the animal is:

"Firstly we need to establish if it's true that it's a Komodo Dragon, and we know how it came through, because once we establish those facts, then there are appropriate laws in which we can deal with it."

There are reports that some villagers think the lizard is a long local species, and not the Komodo Dragon, which is protected by international treaty, and usually only lives on an Indonesian island.