Thailand seizes 2,000 monitor lizards

April 8, 2011
Thai custom officials display one of the monitor lizards it seized in Prachuap Khiri Khan province. Thailand has made its largest-ever seizure of monitor lizards after finding more than 2,000 of the reptiles being smuggled in a convoy of pick-up trucks heading for the capital.

Thailand said on Friday it had made its largest-ever seizure of monitor lizards after finding more than 2,000 of the reptiles being smuggled in a convoy of pick-up trucks heading for the capital.

The live Bengal monitors were found in plastic baskets on the back of three vehicles when they were stopped by authorities in Prachuap Khiri Khan province, south of Bangkok, on Thursday.

Customs officials, who put the estimated street value of the reptiles at 1.8 million baht ($60,000), said officials believe they were destined for Chinese customers.

"They are from Malaysia and transported through southern Thailand and northeastern Laos to China for eating," said Seree Thaijongrak, head of the customs investigation and suppression bureau.

"We knew there was a monitor lizard racket... this time it's the largest ever," he said.

Wildlife anti-trafficking organisation Freeland said monitor are protected by the Convention on International Trade in of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and are threatened with extinction.

International trade in the is banned and they are protected under Thai and Malaysian law.

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not rated yet Apr 08, 2011
It aggravates me that the one real place where I can sense stereotyping a culture and even a hint of racism in myself is with the Japanese and the Chinese, in dealing with their eating habits. Why is it that these two cultures put delicacy above protecting endangered species/ overfishing. I of course am referring to stories like this, Chinese with their lust for Shark fin soup, and Japanese whale hunting for "research" I guess I should assume its only a select few sponsoring these activities.

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