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June 17, 2019

Presence of Bengal Monitor: Lizard indicates healthy ecosystem


June 17, 2019

Islamabad : Islamabad Wildlife Management Board (IWMB) team spotted a Bengal Monitor Lizard at Trail-6 of the Margalla Hills National Park (MHNP) which indicates healthy ecosystem and not a risk to human beings.

Talking to APP, IWMB Assistant Director Sakhawat Ali here Sunday said, This is the largest lizard existing in the country known as Bengal Monitor Lizard (Varanus bengalensis).

It belongs to Varanidae family whose only three species are found in the country where only Bengal Monitor Lizard existed in MHNP.

The free roaming of wildlife in its natural habitat had become possible due to strict patrolling and control over poaching in the national park, he added.

Bengal Monitors usually hibernate in winter season and show up in summers as insect and population is increased in the prevailing period.

“However, Green Pheasants have also laid eggs and Bengal monitor eats its eggs so the presence of this lizard goes common in September till October,” Sakhawat informed.

They (wildlife) control ecosystem and maintain balance in the food chain whereas Bengal Monitor has its own role in this regard.

This movement poses no threat to humans as it indicates a healthy environment, the IWMB Assistant Director mentioned.

To a question, he said, MHNP have almost 32 species of reptiles according to literature including 13 species of lizard, 2 species of freshwater turtle and 17 species of snakes.

It merits mention here, he said that out of 17 species of snakes only 5 species were venomous that are: Common Krait (Bungarus aeruleus ), Black Cobra (Naja naja), Brown Cobra (Naja oxiana), Saw-Scaled Viper (Echis carinatus sochireki ) and Russell''s Viper (Daboia russelii).

The Bengal Monitor or common Indian monitor was a monitor lizard found widely distributed over the Indian Sub-continent as well as parts of Southeast Asia and West Asia.

“This large lizard is mainly terrestrial and its length can range from about 61 centimetre (cm) to 175 cm from the tip of the snout to the end of the tail, he added.”

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