By T. Appala Naidu
Globally, the Varanus or Monitory Lizard has been listed in Appendix II on the Convention on International Trade and Engdangered species of Wild Fauna and Flora.
Medicinal values linked to Varanus is posing a threat to its survival in the State. Moreover, the propaganda that Varanus meat acts as an aphrodisiac has resulted in the mass killing of the reptile. Listed as the Schedule-1 species in the Wildlife (Protection) Act-1972, Varanus Bengalensis, one of the varieties of the Varanus, is the most sighted Varanus across the Southern India.
Globally, the Varanus or Monitory Lizard has been listed in Appendix II on the Convention on International Trade and Engdangered species of Wild Fauna and Flora. “People continue to prefer Varanus meat for various medicinal purposes. Many eat it for relief from rheumatic pain and some believe that it can cure even paralytic stroke,” Seetanpalli Government Veterinary Dispensary Veterinary Surgeon S. Prasad said.
The demand for the Varanus is high at the Machilipatnam fish market, where consumers run after its blood. Those who collect its blood during the skinning process said they mixed it with whisky, considering it as an aphrodisiac lubricant. Seeking anonymity, people involved in the trade of live Varanus said: “A section of people who hunt the Varanus in the rural pockets bring them their day’s catch to the fish market here in the rainy season. The price of the each Varanus fetches so high, ranging from Rs. 500 to more than Rs. 1,000 based on the size”.
Hyderabad-based wildlife expert P. Gracious said the propaganda of medicinal values over consumption of the Varanus had become a major threat to its survival Citing ban and trade of the species, he said one would be awarded with at least seven-year of imprisonment as per the existing wildlife laws.