Thai Customs officials have confiscated 1,800 Bengal monitor lizards on the border between Thailand and Malaysia, reports the AFP. Officials said the lizards were likely headed to China for consumption.
While Bengal monitor lizards (Varanus bengalensis) are listed as Least Concern by the IUCN Red List, global trade is banned by CITES and the species are protected in Thailand. Bengal monitor lizards are in decline over their range largely due to hunting and poaching. Other threats include pesticides, habitat loss, and the traditional medicine.
Customs official, Seree Thaijongrak, told the AFP that this was “the largest seizure ever”.
(03/14/2011) A judge sentenced Pascal Vieillard, CEO of A-440 Pianos Inc., to 3 years probation for illegally smuggling elephant ivory into the US, while the Georgia-based company has been fined $17,500. Vieillard had earlier pleaded guilty to importing pianos with ivory parts.
(02/23/2011) Surviving hundreds of millions of years on Earth have not saved turtles from facing extinction at human hands. A new report by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and the Turtle Conservation Coalition, identifies the world’s 25 most imperiled turtles, including one that is practically assured extinction: ‘Lonesome George’ the last Abdington Island tortoise in the world. The list includes four turtle species from South and Central America, three from Africa, and one from Australia. But Asia is the hotbed for turtles in trouble with 17 of the top 25 species, or 68%. The numbers are even more alarming if one looks only at the top ten: eight of the top ten are in Asia, and six of these in China.
(02/19/2011) Indonesian authorities busted a man selling illegal wildlife products on the Internet, reports the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS).