A captivating scene was recently captured of a lady proudly posing alongside an iguana at a popular animal event in Bangkok in the year 2022. (Credit: Pornprom Satrabhaya) This picturesque image captured the attention of a myriad of individuals, for it was not an everyday occurrence.
Notably, Thailand’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment has recently decreed a blanket ban over the importation of green iguanas. This decision has been taken in light of an escalating fear that the burgeoning iguana population might endanger local ecosystems and environment. The one at the helm of this decision, Mr. Athapol Charoenchansa, is the acting director-general of the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation.
Mr. Charoenchansa explained this new resolution stemmed from multiple reports of a significant increase in sightings of green iguanas in public lands and natural habitats. Most notably, this phenomenon has been reported in the Lop Buri province. Local residents have been voicing their concerns due to the consumption and destruction of their agricultural products – an unfortunate collateral effect of this sudden iguana population boom.
As Mr. Charoenchansa elaborated, this surge in the population of green iguanas has a serious environmental knock-on effect. With great concern, he also pointed out that the specific species of green iguanas being sighted are not typically native to Thailand. The reason for their unexpected and puzzling presence in the local habitats remains unclear. The pieces of this ecological puzzle are still to be put together.
The Ministry’s announcement now prohibits the importation of all sorts of iguanas from the Iguanidae family. Notably, this species is protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species. This decision marks a definitive attempt towards controlling the overwhelming reptile invasion and will remain effective until further updates.
In this unfolding situation, 244 individuals have voluntarily reported to the department, revealing that they own a staggering collective total of 3,419 iguanas, with 982 of them based in Chon Buri province alone. As per Mr. Charoenchansa, a comprehensive survey by the department to determine the actual population of iguanas in Thailand is currently underway.
If this green iguana population can be stabilized and properly controlled, Mr. Charoenchansa affirmed that future allowances for iguana imports may be considered. As this situation unfolds, it continues to pique the interest of both locals and international observers alike, highlighting yet another interaction between man and the fascinating world of wildlife.