Forest personnel nabbed a 28-year-old man for poaching monitor lizards near Boothapandi in Kanyakumari district on Wednesday. Five adult monitor lizards were seized from his house and have launched a hunt for another man from the same village who acted as his accomplice.
Monitor lizards, though not an endangered species, are listed under Schedule II of Wildlife Protection Act."The man had poached the lizard for meat and not for trading them,'' said Ritto Cyriac, district forest officer, Kanyakumari.
Forest officials said that a team of personnel were patrolling in Themparai forest area when they spotted Thenkarai, a resident of Samykudiyiruppu near Nagerkoil, moving around in a suspicious manner. During interrogation, Thenkarai revealed that he had hunted down five monitor lizards. The dead lizards were later seized from his house.
Cyriac said that villagers would poach these lizards found in large numbers in the forest area of Kanyakumari believing that the meat possess medicinal qualities. "Their intention was not to sell the meat but to consume it. We have issued a stern warning to the villagers not to poach the lizards,'' Cyriac said.