LifestyleIguana invasion in Thailand. Pets turning into pests

Iguana invasion in Thailand. Pets turning into pests

Iguanas originate from South and Central America.
Iguanas originate from South and Central America.
Images source: © Adobe Stock
ed. IR

6:23 AM EST, November 23, 2023

Residents of Thailand are discovering a new trend in pets: iguanas, native creatures of Central and South America. However, these pets often escape from domestic confines, wrecking havoc on crops and the local ecosystem.

The Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP) states that over 150 iguanas have been trapped in recent weeks, inflicting substantial damages across the nation.

The Rising Terror of Iguanas in Thailand

Officials captured 134 iguanas in the Pattana Nikom district of Lopburi, roughly 99 miles north of Bangkok. Additionally, six were found in Udon Thani in the northeast, and another 23 in various regions of Thailand. "Numerous iguanas roam freely in Lopburi province and wreak havoc on agricultural crops," says the DNP report.

Hailing from Central and South America, these lizards have grown in popularity as household pets in Thailand. Nevertheless, they occasionally end up released into the wild by discontented owners. The looming issue lies in the five-foot lizards instilling fear among the farming community as they decimate any vegetation they come across. The fear lineage extends to the farmers' families as well.

"The surging population of iguanas is disrupting the environment and ecological balance, creating issues for the native population," the statement reads.

The DNP assures that the captured lizards are relocated to wildlife centers, such as those in Nakhon Nayok, northeast of Bangkok.

From November 17, Thais can no longer bring iguanas into the country.
From November 17, Thais can no longer bring iguanas into the country.© Adobe Stock

Enforced Iguana Import Ban

DNP records indicate that approximately 260 people across 61 provinces collectively own around 3600 iguanas. However, this trend may soon reach its end.

Thai officials implemented a ban on all iguana imports for environmental reasons on November 17. They have announced that violations to this ban can result in a sentence of up to 10 years in prison and a hefty fine of up to one million baht (about $31,000).

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