Hikers asked to keep an eye out for monitor lizard with cable tie around its neck, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

Hikers asked to keep an eye out for monitor lizard with cable tie around its neck

A photo of a monitor lizard with a cable tie around its neck had raised concern among nature enthusiasts.

The photo was taken by Facebook user Loke Peng Fai on Jan 16 at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve. 

He shared the image on the "Singapore Wildlife Sightings" group, and said the reptile disappeared into the water after the photo was taken.

The lizard was photographed with a fish in its mouth and a black cable tie tight around its neck.

Speaking to Mothership.sg, Mr Bernard Seah, who has been a National Parks Board (NParks) volunteer for 10 years, alerted the Sungei Buloh NParks Team after he was tagged in the post.

He said the monitor lizard would likely have to regurgitate the prey in its mouth, but the cable tie appears loose enough for it to swallow smaller prey.

He added that while agencies like NParks and Acres have tried to intervene in such situations, catching animals like monitor lizards is no easy feat.

"All they need to do is run below a fence, or a low clearing structure, and humans cannot follow," Mr Seah said, adding that this is the fourth monitor lizard with plastic around its neck that he's aware of.

He had once come across a small monitor lizard that had a blue plastic ring from a disposable water bottle around its neck. It appeared to be only a few months old, and Mr Seah added it likely didn't survive without human intervention.

In the comments section of Mr Loke's post, some netizens shared similar sightings of monitor lizards.

Spotted at Woodlands Waterfront Park in August 2020.PHOTO: YAP ZI JING via MOTHERSHIP.SG

The situation could soon turn dire for the lizard, said Mr Seah, who has asked hikers to keep a lookout for the reptile on the "Sungei Buloh Nature Park Network Flora & Fauna" Facebook group.

They should call NParks Animal Response Centre at 1800-4761600 if they spot the lizard or any other animals that require assistance.

"It would be even more helpful if you can stick around to observe or track it (from the designated walking path) until staff arrive on-site," he said.

He warned visitors not to step off the path and to always check for hornets, wasps, snakes and crocodiles.

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