A raided rare animal farm

An official checks lizards during a farm raid. police photography

PHICHIT: Police and wildlife officials raided a property illegally breeding water monitors and macaques and found numerous giant lizards tied up and prepared for export.

On Sunday, authorities searched Khemawat farm in Moo 9 village of Tambon Noen Por in Sam Ngam district and dismantled the illegal operation.

Pol Maj Gen Mana Kleepsatbut, commander of the National Resources and Environmental Crime Division, said yesterday that the property was once a pig farm. But on Sunday, they found macaques and water monitors bred for sale. Both are protected animals.

Farm workers Wang Jahan and Anant Sripha initially tried to block the police, locking the farm gate and releasing some animals from their cages. Some animals fled the farm. Officials broke in and found 61 macaques and water monitors.

Some of the lizards were tied up and in mesh bags, apparently ready for transport. Authorities also found a blowpipe and tranquilizer darts at the scene, which belonged to Lee Thiangyoo, 73, from Sam Ngam.

The seized animals were sent to a wildlife breeding center in Uthai Thani.

Pol Maj Gen Mana said the farm owner was suspected of exporting the animals to Cambodia to resell them to wildlife food restaurants in Vietnam and China.

The raid followed the earlier interception of captive monkeys on their way to the Cambodian border.

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