Environment

Thailand bans import of iguanas as pets to combat ‘outbreak’ in wild

Bangkok, Nov 22 (EFE).- Thailand has announced a ban on the import of all iguanas to prevent and control their reproduction amid an “outbreak” of the reptiles in the country.

Iguanas are herbivorous lizards native to tropical areas of Mexico, Central America, South America, and the Caribbean, but increasingly popular as exotic pets in Thailand.

According to Thai government spokesperson Chai Watcharong, authorities have detected a “rapidly increasing outbreak of exotic iguanas in natural areas” in Thailand, affecting the local ecosystems and environment, including distress to farmers.

The government announced the ban in order to prevent and control their reproduction.

It is suspected that pets have escaped and reproduced in the wild.

Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation said Wednesday that officials have recently captured more than 150 iguanas and transferred them to wildlife centers and sanctuaries.

Residents had complained that iguanas had eaten agricultural crops and disrupted the locals’ way of life.

According to official data, Thailand currently has some 3,419 pet iguanas, with the province of Chonburi, about 70 kilometers from Bangkok, having the most at 982. EFE

nbo/tw

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