Swedish authorities found 760 lizards, 67 turtles, 18 snakes, two crocodiles, one water monitor and 11 frogs caged up in an abandoned shop in the small town of Löberöd last month. However, without any clear information about their origins, the reptiles could not be given to individual owners, only to institutions.
After soliciting zoos across Europe, Sweden’s Kolmården Zoo, which temporarily housed the rescued animals, was only able to find new homes for 50 out of the more than 550 helmethead geckos. Unable to bear the financial burden of taking care of so many reptiles, the zoo decided to kill the rest using liquid nitrogen.
The method “worked very well: acceptable in terms of animal welfare as well as practical,” vet Bengt Röken, who works at the Kolmården Zoo, told local media.
“Hundreds of beautiful animals were discarded like rubbish. But the fault here lies with the exotic pet trade, and those who capture these animals for profit,” Dawn Carr, PETA’s director of vegan corporate projects, told.
Carr also disputed that the method used to kill the lizards was humane, citing a report on animal ethics from the University of Melbourne that said that the animals should be placed under deep anesthesia before being dropped in liquid nitrogen. However, she acknowledged that the Swedish zoo had few good options.
“All good options were off the table the moment these animals were captured for profit,” she told. “We know that 70 percent bred or captured for the pet trade die in transit or from inadequate care and housing – this is before they’re even sold.”