Monitor lizards fall prey to poachers

Monitor lizards fall prey to poachers
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Highlights

Monsoon is game time for the rich and source of earning for the poor, who risk their lives to fetch wild animals.

Visakhapatnam: Monsoon is game time for the rich and source of earning for the poor, who risk their lives to fetch wild animals.

Wild boars, jungle fowl, water hens, monitor lizards and other species are hunted and sold as meat in the market. The meat of some animals and birds have medicinal value, traders claim and sell them to gullible customers.

Highlights:

  • Forest officials seize 10 lizards, 16 water hens
  • The mountain lizards are pre-booked and are said to have medicinal properties

The task force personnel of forest department and members of Visakha Society for Protection and Care of Animals (VSPCA) led by its founder president Pradeep Nath kept the poachers, mostly tribal farmers, under their surveillance and nabbed them on Sunday morning.

They seized 10 monitor lizards, 16 white breasted hens and 9 grey falcons. These three varieties are found abundant on the eastern ghats and monitor lizards are protected under Schedule 1 of The Indian Wildlife Act, while the rest under Schedule IV. Monitor lizards are endangered species and this area is a perfect habitat.

The tribal nomads hunt all kind of animals including cats, parrots, all kinds of birds, jungle cats, lizards, snakes and terrapins. On an average 40 lizards are killed for the Sunday market. “The meat is believed to be having medicinal values. Monitor lizard skin is burnt and the oil is used as cure of arthritis. Its meat is sold for aphrodisiac value,” Pradeep Nath told The Hans India.

Though the chief of the nomad tribe and three others were arrested, but the forest officials let them off on the instructions of a senior politician, who suggested alternative employment for them, Nath said.

“We have offered them alternative jobs but they refuse to work. They are quite busy because as their hands are full with orders for wild and exotic meat. We are going to carry out awareness camps along with the forest department and pursue their children to enrol in government-run free schools and provide employment,” Nath said.

By KMP Patnaik

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