State officials catch 52 monitor lizards at two universities
As many as 52 monitor lizards were caught at two famous universities -- Thammasat University Rangsit Campus in Pathum Thani province, and Sukhothai Thammathirat Open University in Nonthaburi province -- on Friday and Saturday.
Poj Thapprathum, chief of Phanthai Norasing Wildlife Reserve, said the agency officials caught 35 monitor lizards on Saturday alone.
Monitor lizards are large lizards in the genus Varanus. They are native to Africa, Asia, and Oceania, and one species is also found in the Americas as an invasive species. About 80 species are recognised.
The business sector's demand for monitor lizards is high as its meat can be consumed while its skin can be used to make bags and belts, increasing the risk of extinction.
Thailand had listed monitor lizards as 91st protected reptiles. Those who hunt or possess such reptiles would face up to 10 years' imprisonment or a fine of up to THB1 million, or both.