An endangered species of Indian monitor lizard, hunted by a gang at Kongarpalayam near Vinobha Nagar at TN Palayam forest range in Sathyamangalam forest division, was seized on Sunday by forest department officials. They had seen someone with a gunny bag near Vinobha Nagar, who attempted to escape on seeing the officials. However, they managed to detain him for enquiry.
Forest department officials got a tip off that an Indian monitor lizard was hunted and the hunters had planned to sell it to others in Vinobha Nagar. Forest officials increased their vigil in the area. At 3pm on Sunday, someone discarded a gunny bag and started to run after seeing forest officials who were on regular patrol in the area. They immediately detained K Ayyanan (50), who was carrying the gunny bag in which they found and Indian monitor lizard aged about five years. Three other people, including a woman, were also detained for inquiry and later let off.
"The Indian monitor lizard is an endangered species. The culprits would get at least three years imprisonment for poaching this endangered species. We are conducting an enquiry with the villagers including two people whom we suspect are also involved in the poaching," said K Rajkumar, district forest officer, Sathyamangalam forest division.
The seized monitor lizard was released in TN Palayam forest range on Sunday evening.