Nearly 100 monitor lizards have been removed from Bangkok’s Lumphini Park.
Much like Central Park in New York City, Lumphini is a rare 142-acre oasis in the heart of the Thai metropolis where city dwellers can jog, bike, rent paddleboats and picnic away from the cacophony of city life.
Park officials told the Bangkok Post that the population of lizards — who have long made the park their home — have soared out of control, with about 400 lurking around the park’s ponds and canals.
According to the Post, some of the reptiles have grown to upwards of 10 ft. (3 m), have damaged much of the park’s flora and frightened many visitors. The lizards, however, are not dangerous to humans, eating mainly dead fish, turtles and birds.
Officials said the lizards will be relocated to a wildlife sanctuary in a nearby province, but some will be left in the park as their presence draws many visitors, including foreign tourists.
Some people in Thailand believe the monitor lizard, or hia (a noun that doubles as a curse word in Thai), is seen as a sign of good luck and prosperity, “If a hia goes into someone’s room, they will become rich,” said Tawee Somnamee, a caretaker at Lumphini Park. “There should be some left for foreigners to see,” he added.
- Taylor Swift Is TIME's 2023 Person of the Year
- Meet the Nation Builders
- Why Cell Phone Reception Is Getting Worse
- Column: It's Time to Scrap the Abraham Accords
- Israeli Family Celebrates Release of Hostage Grandmother
- In a New Movie, Beyoncé Finds Freedom
- The Top 100 Photos of 2023
- Want Weekly Recs on What to Watch, Read, and More? Sign Up for Worth Your Time