Alligator-size lizards invade Bangkok park

2009-08-26 09:33 BJT

Lumpini park in Bangkok is a 200-acre escape from the capital's frantic pace and enjoyed by Thais and foreign tourists alike. It is also home to an unusual guest, alligator-sized lizards.

Joggers, walkers and others just out enjoying themselves don't seem to mind sharing the park with the huge reptiles which roam freely. Some people shoo away the water monitors, a species which can grow up to 3.5 meters long, while others photograph or feed them.

Local people say these cousins of the Komodo dragon may draw more visitors to the park than they scare away. Water monitors are a protected species in Thailand and park employees ward off any poachers thinking of turning one into an attractive pair of boots.