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Giant Monitor Lizards Run Amok at Bangkok's Lumphini Park

Sep 21, 2016 04:01 AM EDT
Monitor Lizard in Thailand
The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) is up in arms in catching the large monitor lizards at the Lumpini Park in Bangkok. The lizards have been reported to wreak havoc in the park, damaging plants and frightening visitors.
(Photo : Kriti Sachdeva/Wikimedia Commons)

The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) is up in arms in catching the large monitor lizards at the Lumphini Park in Bangkok. The lizards have been reported to wreak havoc in the park, damaging plants and frightening visitors.

According to the Bangkok Post, the population of the monitor lizards in the park is now at 400, which led to the BMA's decision to lessen their count for easier management.

Known locally as "hia" (which means as "the most powerful sword" in Thai), the monitor lizards have grown up to three meters long, could live up to 20 years, and include dead fish, birds and turtles as part of their diet. Even though they don't prey on humans, the quick-moving reptiles have caused several cases of injured bikers when the latter collided with the animals.

Officials have set up makeshift fishing poles, ropes and sacks to trap the reptiles from the ponds and canals where they have found residence. Suwanna Jungrungrueng, director of the city's environment department, said, "They walk around and don't know that people are scared of them. It's time for us to control them."

Currently, park officers have captured around 100 monitor lizards by luring tem with catfish beofre catching them. The captured monitor lizards will be resettled at a nearby wildlife sanctuary located in Ratchaburi province.

Time notes that the monitor lizard or hia is considered as a sign of good luck and prosperity in Thai culture. Tawee Somnamee, a caretaker at Lumphini Park, said, "If a hia goes into someone’s room, they will become rich," adding that there should be some monitor lizards left in the parks for foreigners to look at.

To learn more about hia or monitor lizards, check out the video below.

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