Leveraging Community and Technology to Combat Illegal Trade of Bengal Monitor Lizard in Terai Arc, India

Kumudani Bala Gautam

The Bengal monitor lizard (V. bengalensis) is the most widespread large lizard in India. Being cosmopolitan, it inhabits ecologically diverse and primarily agrarian Terai Arc Landscape (TAL). Anthropogenic pressure driven by urbanisation and infrastructural development in TAL is a direct threat to V. bengalensis. Recently, increase in large-scale seizures of hemipenis across the country position the TAL as a major intersection in the illegal wildlife trade route. Such wildlife market supply sites in TAL are Haridwar mela, Nakhas market and Mir Shikhar Toli.

Monitor Lizard.

Monitor Lizard.

The status and impact of hunting of V. bengalensis is poorly understood. Lack of such basic data hinders targeted conservation efforts by underestimating the true extent of species distribution and exploitation in the landscape. This project will

1) Engage local stakeholders in TAL, to mitigate hostility towards the V. bengalensis.

2) Train on ground enforcement agencies through capacity building.

3) Will compile robust foundational geo-referenced database of V. bengalensis from wild stock

4) Results from this region will provide strong insight for IUCN to update the conservation status of the species.

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