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Monitor lizard: MAATY Organization’s Third Special Issue on Wildlife Week

 

Dehradun: Dehradun-based Maaty Organization, in association with USERC, has pledged to observe the wildlife week by organizing photography and video making competitions on the theme, “Sustaining all life in Earth”. Besides the competitions, the organization also brings out special issues on various protected wildlife, each day. 

Today’s issue has been written by Ms. Urvashi David and Dr. Ankita Rajput

Today’s protected wildlife: Monitor lizard (Varanus)

“Leave us alone human……………let’s stand together for wild”

Poaching has alluded as unlawful chasing or catching of wild creatures. Since the 1980s, the term “poaching” has additionally been used utilized to allude to the illicit collecting of wild plants and animal species for their body parts or skin has existed for as long as humans had wanted them. This market thrived based on the request of the product has existed for quite a while, lawfully. This is because the meaning of the term illegal has changed over the centuries. Another motivation to forestall poaching and untamed life dealing is to save the regular species for our people in the future generations so as they too can enjoy the wonders of nature that our generation and the previous ones have enjoyed.

Here we are focusing on an innocent creature Varanus, also called Monitor lizard. Most of the monitor lizard’s species fall in the categories of least concern under the IUCN Red List of threatened species, but the population is decreasing globally. In India, the monitor lizards protected under Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, indicating that they are strictly protected. Approximately 79 species of monitor lizard are widely distributed in Africa, Asia, Australia, and most of the surrounding islands between these regions. India harbors four species of Varanus lizards: the Varanus bengalensis (Bengal monitor lizard), V. griseus (Desert monitor), V. flavescens (Yellow monitor) and V.salvator (Water monitor). Unfortunately, monitors are declining rapidly as the poachers are aimlessly chasing them. The poaching of the species is done for the sake of their skin (used in making a musical instrument called Drum), meat (as a protein source by local tribes), and their fat (used as a medication to treat a variety of diseases due to their aphrodisiac properties). Religious beliefs are also a threat to the monitor lizard population in India as Hatha Jodi. Hatha Jodi is the root of the plant found in the forest of Madhya Pradesh. According to Indian mythology, it’s a blessing of the goddess Chamunda to this plant which is used as a good luck charm, as well as for prosperity. But the trees have slowly diminished and the Hatha Jodi resembles as the male genital part of monitor lizard therefore the trade of monitor lizard is done which is a threat to its population. The genital organ of this poor animal will not help you to become rich. Monitor lizards are being hunted due to lack of awareness, the superstition of society, and cruelty. The use of pesticides and habitat destruction is also responsible for the decline of monitor lizards.

Decreasing the population of monitor lizards is an alarming situation for all of us and there is an urgent need to take strict conservative measures and conduct a comprehensive study on population structure to protect the species and prevent to fall into the category of endangered or extinct from least concern. Poaching must be strictly monitored in the ground level as well. Then only the species can be conserved. On this untamed wildlife week, let us all take a pledge to conserve this precious nature and every individual should consider it as their own obligation.

Ms. Urvashi David is a Research Fellow & Dr. Ankita Rajpoot is a Scientist in the Maaty Organization, Dehradun. They may be reached at contact@maaty.org

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