World Press Review; February 1997

City of Dead Iguanas

Bangkok's middle-class citizens are not paving their city with gold these days, reports Cimi Suchontaon in the independent Bangkok Post. Instead, they are lining the streets with dead iguanas. People buy the Western pets to impress their friends but don't have the foggiest notion of how to take care of them. "When the pets cease to amuse their owners, they dump them in the forest," says Secretary-General Pisit Na Patalung of the Wildlife Fund of Thailand. But the South American iguanas perish because they do not know how to survive in the Thai habitat. Some 3,000 iguanas are sold each week in Bangkok. Small ones sell for about $30; bigger ones cost up to $400.

-Joanna G. Lownestein