Lizards live in almost any habitat and can be found on every continent in the world except Antarctica. There are more than 4,000 lizard species around the world ranging from geckos to iguanas and blue-tongued lizards.
Papua New Guinea is home to the World’s Longest Lizard, the varanus salvadorii, commonly referred to as the crocodile monitor which can grow as long as 3.6 meters. Commonly mistaken as the largest lizard is the Komodo dragon, which is actually the world’s heaviest lizard and only grows to 2.6 meters.
The Nature Park has a number of lizards that it cares for including blue–tongued lizards that joined the reptile family at the Park. In January 2018, eleven baby blue-tongued lizards were rescued by the Salonica family residing in Taurama, after they were orphaned by a dog that killed their mother. Three baby lizards were still in the womb when she died but were able to be removed from their sacs by the family. Sadly, only two survived.
Moi Salonica, mother of the brave children that saved the lizards, said: “As a child growing up in that area, I would see so many blue-tongued lizards, even as recently as two years ago. But since the Taurama area continues to develop you just don’t see them anymore, which is quite sad.”
Over the past seven years the Nature Park has hand-raised, rehabilitated and saved hundreds of native animals like the blue-tongued lizards. Its rescue and rehabilitation program secures the welfare and conservation of animals that have been endangered or threatened and can no longer thrive in their environment.
The blue-tongue baby lizards were cared for and some were released back into the wild once they were older. The others remain within the park’s collection of existing blue-tongued lizards.
The Nature Park will be opening its Reptile Haus in early September and lizards will also be featured in the new facility.
The Port Moresby Nature Park is dedicated to inspiring in others the guardianship of PNG’s unique natural environment and culture.