BANGKOK – Attaphon Charoenchansa, acting Director-General of the Department of National Parks, Wildlife, and Plant Conservation, announced on November 20 that due to the recent discovery of a large number of green iguanas roaming in natural areas in Lopburi province and causing damage to agricultural crops, there has been a rapid increase in their population, affecting the environment and ecosystems.
The iguanas found belong to several native species not originally from Thailand, and the cause of their occurrence in the wild is not yet clear.
The Department of National Parks has therefore announced that, with immediate effect, it will not consider licences for the import of wild animals protected by international treaties on endangered species. This applies in particular to the family of iguanas (family Iguanidae), order number 640, including all species of iguanas (Iguana spp.). This measure will be implemented as a control measure until further notice.
So far, 244 owners of green iguanas with a total of 3,419 animals have been reported, with the province of Chonburi having the highest number with 982 animals.
However, specialists claim that Thailand possesses native chameleons with green skin that resembles the green iguana. It is known as the “Takong,” or Chinese water dragon, and it is a protected wild animal in reptile category 41. It cannot be hunted or bred.
According to Dr. Jessada Denduangboriphan, lecturer at the Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, Chulalongkorn University, this may lead to the misunderstanding that “Takong” is a “green iguana” and so capture or injure it.
The following are some signs to tell the difference between two types of animals:
- On the Takong’s both cheeks, the button will be white. The iguana, on the other hand, is likely to have a circle near its chin.
2. The takong will be brushed down to the chest under the chin. Iguanas, on the other hand, have eye bags.
3. The Takong body’s back panel is dark green to black. Iguanas are green, and the panel’s end will be pink.
4. The Takong will eat tiny creatures such as crickets, grasshoppers, and occasionally worms as nourishment. Iguanas eat mostly fruits and vegetables.
In Thailand, Chinese water dragons are protected wild animals that are on the verge of extinction, but iguanas are controlled animals. As a result, people should be cautious and thoroughly check.