Thirty illegal iguanas were seized by government officials yesterday and held in custody, destined for deportation. Agriculture and Fisheries Department officers raided a pet shop in Causeway Bay and found the unlicensed iguanas and a hobby eagle in reptile boxes. None was injured but, as they were endangered species, the shop - which also sells frogs, tortoises and chinchillas - was required to have a licence to sell them. 'Each lizard is worth $500 and the hobby has a market price of $1,000 - there'e a ready market for them as pets,' the Department's Conservation Officer Cheung Chi-sun said. Baby lizards have been popular exotic pets among Hong Kong residents for a few years and thousands have been imported legally. The green-and-grey iguanas, each about 15 centimetres long, will be cared for by the AFD until the case is closed. They will then be given to overseas breeding centres, Mr Cheung said. 'These are vegetarian lizards, originating in Central and South America and normally living in trees in jungles,' he said. He said the baby iguanas were fond of green beans, could grow to be two metres long and live for 15 years. The eagle has been sent to Kadoorie Farm. 'We will consider releasing it into the wild if its condition is OK after being checked by vets,' Mr Cheung said. 'Investigations on the case are continuing and prosecutions will be initiated against the offender if there is sufficient evidence.' The shopowner, whose identity was withheld, may be prosecuted under the Animals and Plants (Protection of Endangered Species) Ordinance which states that it is illegal to import or possess endangered species without an AFD licence. The maximum penalty is a $500,000 fine and a year in prison. Since January 1996, 12 entry permits for iguanas have been issued and a total of 1,820 lizards legally imported.