A water monitor lizard that escaped during a medical procedure at Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Garden (KFBG) two weeks ago has been found safe-and-sound at the nature reserve.

Aberdeen the missing monitor lizard
Aberdeen the missing monitor lizard is found. File Photo: Kadoorie Farm & Botanic Garden.

A hiker spotted the Aberdeen the lizard on a hillside at around 1pm on Sunday, according to a Facebook statement from KFBG: “When he realised he had been spotted, he started to move quickly moved down the tree and ran along the terrace. Fortunately, a quick team member wearing thick gloves was able to capture and restrain Aberdeen before he managed to get too far.”

Aberdeen the missing monitor lizard
Aberdeen the missing monitor lizard. File Photo: Kadoorie Farm & Botanic Garden.

The 1.5-metre reptile was escorted by animal care staff to the on-site veterinary hospital for a check-up and was provided with water before being transferred to his original exhibition enclosure.

The lizard been a resident at KFBG in Lam Tsuen for eight years, after it was seized from the illegal pet trade.

“He appeared a bit dismayed about the sudden end to his adventure but once inside his familiar home seemed content that his walkabout was over. By 5 pm he was already interacting again with his enclosure mates. Aberdeen is in a mixed exhibit with several rescued tortoises and turtles, we expect they will have a lot of stories to share over the next couple of days!”

Water monitor lizards were once native to the city, feeding on rats, fish and carrion, but hunting and urban development drove them to extinction, according to KFBG.

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Tom founded Hong Kong Free Press in 2015 and is the editor-in-chief. In addition to editing, he is responsible for managing the newsroom and company - including fundraising, recruitment and overseeing HKFP's web presence and ethical guidelines.

He has a BA in Communications and New Media from Leeds University and an MA in Journalism from the University of Hong Kong. He previously led an NGO advocating for domestic worker rights, and has contributed to the BBC, Deutsche Welle, Al-Jazeera and others.