Lizard Terrorizes Papua Locals

A fugitive giant Komodo dragon terrorising Papua New Guinea's second largest city has sparked a massive hunt by police, locals and administrative officials.

The liberated lizard is now roaming free in settlements around Lae city on PNG's north-west coast, local police said.

Lae Police Commander Inspector Ben Neneo said police were working with Morobe Province administrators in a joint effort to find the reptile putting fear into villagers and causing damage to their gardens.

"Some people sighted this creature and told police. At the moment with Morobe administrators we are trying to search for the animal," he told AAP.

"They want to capture it but if needs be they will kill it," he said.

"Some locals are scared because it's the first time they have seen this (type of) creature," he said.

Insp Neneo said he could not confirm reports an expatriate was illegally keeping the dragon at his home.

Morobe Province office has organised a hunt and believe several sighting by locals could mean two lizards are on the loose.

Dr Gae Gowae from PNG's Department of Environment and said it was an unusual case because the endangered species was found on Komodo Island in Indonesia.

"The department is checking the story, under the law they are not supposed to be here," he said.

If captured it would be up to the minister to decide whether the rare dragon was repatriated, he said.


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