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Wildlife Officials Relocate Large Monitor Lizards from Bangkok’s Lumphini Park

Park officials hold a monitor lizard after caught with a lasso in Lumpini park in Bangkok on Sept. 20, 2016.(Photo: Munir Uz Zaman

Park officials hold a monitor lizard after caught with a lasso in Lumpini park in Bangkok -Photo Munir Uz Zaman

 

BANGKOK – Wildlife officials have started rounding up the large monitor lizards in Bangkok’s Lumphini Park that have been known to damage plants and startle unwary visitors.

Lumphini Parkwhich is located next to Bangkok’s financial district, the half-square-kilometre (57.6 hectare) park sees more than 10,000 visitors daily. It is also home to more than 400 monitor lizards, and officials say the population has grown out of control.

A monitor lizard at Bangkok's Lumpini Park is caught by officials. (Photo: Kittiphum Sringammuang)

A monitor lizard at Bangkok’s Lumpini Park is caught by officials. (Photo: Kittiphum Sringammuang)

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Park officers have already captured nearly 100 monitor lizards by luring them out of the water with catfish, before pouncing on them and tying up their limbs.

But the park’s population of the reptiles — some of which are up to 6.5 feet long — has grown to around 400, leading park officials to become concerned and come up with a plan to relocate them. On Tuesday, park staff could be seen using ropes and snares to catch around 40 of the lizards.

A park official catches a monitor lizard with a lasso in Lumpini Park. (AFP Photo/Munir Uz Zaman)

A park official catches a monitor lizard with a lasso in Lumpini Park. (AFP Photo/Munir Uz Zaman)

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While the lizards are gentle in nature and don’t attack the many Thais and foreigners who flock to the centrally located park, they do damage the park’s trees and landscape, according to Suwanna Jungrungrueng, the director of Bangkok’s environment department.

Their sheer numbers have also caused concern with the authorities after reports of runners and bikers falling while swerving to try to avoid the lizards.

The operation to relocate the park’s monitor lizards will continue over the next few weeks. All the captured lizards will be transported to Khaozon Wildlife Breeding Center in Ratchaburi province, west of Bangkok.

Source: Kittiphum Sringammuang and Associated Press

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