Monitor Lizard Smuggling Bust Called the "Largest Ever"


Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

Customs officials in Thailand have made what they say is the largest ever confiscation of illegal monitor lizards. The bust was made on the border between Thailand and Malaysia, where more than 1,800 lizards were en route to China.

Though its not endangered, according to the IUCN, international trade of the Bengal monitor lizard (Varanus bengalensis is limited by CITES.SLIDESHOW: 10 Outrageous Ways People Have Tried to Smuggle Animals

The Bengal monitor lizard is common throughout South and South East Asia, but poaching and hunting is leading to a steady decline in the population. While the lizard is hunted for food in some areas, it is more often targeted for its fat, which is rendered and used as a treatment for various ailments in traditional medicine.

READ MORE: Does Protecting Endangered Rhinos Conflict With Traditional Chinese Medicine?

Seree Thaijongrak, a customs official said the bust was "the largest seizure ever."

Read more about smuggling:
Adorable Tiger Cub Violates Carry-On Restrictions (Photos)
Man Pleads Guilty to Smuggling 44 Rare Lizards in Underpants
Malaysian Smugglers Nabbed with Hundreds of Lizards
Pianomaker Fined $35,000 for Smuggling Endangered Elephant Ivory

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