Beasts of Bangkok booted from park lair

2016-09-21 11:01
(iStock)

(iStock)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Video

WATCH: Zim farmer pries huge python from bakkie

2016-03-05 10:11

Watch a Zimbabwean farmer prying a massive python from under the bonnet of his bakkie.WATCH

Bangkok - The hulking, prehistoric-looking monitor lizards that stalk the grounds of Bangkok's Lumpini park have long triggered fascination - and fear - from visitors to the city centre's main green space.

But with their population soaring out of control to about 400, city officials are on a mission to bait and bag some of the meaty reptiles known as "hia" - a noun which doubles as the most powerful swear word in Thai.

"In the past hia used to steal people's food, so that's why people cursed them," explained 49-year-old Tawee Somnamee, who works in the 60ha park, a lush oasis for joggers and cyclists in the heart of Bangkok's concrete jungle.

He is one of twelve park staff who set out on Tuesday with makeshift fishing poles, rope and sacks to lure the reptiles from the ponds and canals where they lurk.

In recent years the largest of the Lumpini leviathans - measuring up to 3m in length - have taken to tromping around the park, damaging plants and frightening passersby.

"They walk around and don't know that people are scared of them," said Suwanna Jungrungrueng, director of the city's environment department.

"It's time for us to control them."

Hia today, gone tomorrow

While the slippery and deceptively fast carnivores don't attack people - they mostly feast on dead fish, birds and turtles - a handful of cyclists have been injured after accidentally colliding with lizards on the bike path.

The creatures can live up to 20 years.

Park officers have already captured nearly 100 hia by luring them out of the water with catfish, before swiftly pouncing on them and tying up their limbs.

Officials say they are being relocated to a wildlife sanctuary in neighbouring Ratchaburi province.

While the reptiles are not exactly beloved in Thailand, some say they bring good luck.

"If a hia goes into someone's room, they will become rich," said Tawee, adding that the park will not be removing all of the lizards.

"There should be some left for foreigners to see," he said.

Read more on:    thailand  |  reptiles

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.