Iguanas ‘invade’ countryside

Rogue reptiles: Captured iguanas at a wildlife sanctuary in Nakhon Nayok province, Thailand. — AFP

THE kingdom has captured over 150 rogue iguanas that were rampaging through the countryside, raiding farms and damaging the local environment, officials said.

The lizards are not native to the kingdom, hailing originally from Central and South America, but are increasingly popular as pets in Thailand.

Environmental concerns have been raised over the activities of the herbivorous lacertilians, which are thought to be pets that have either escaped or been deliberately released into the wild.

The Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP) said on Tuesday that 134 iguanas had been captured in Pattana Nikom district, Lopburi, around 160km north of Bangkok.

A further six were discovered in Udon Thani, in the country’s northeast, and 23 more elsewhere in Thailand.

“Many iguanas have been living in the wild in Lopburi province and destroying farmers’ agricultural produce,” a DNP statement said.

“The rapidly increasing number has affected the environment and ecology systems, causing problems to local people.”

The cold-blooded captives – which can grow to more than 1.5m-long – will be kept at wildlife centres including one in Nakhon Nayok, northeast of Bangkok.

Earlier in the week, officials banned the import of the scaly creatures over environmental concerns. — AFP

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