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Savannah Monitors Lizards are Not Captive Bred Print E-mail

Image Juvenile savannah monitor lizards are needed in large numbers for the pet trade, who want them as cheaply as possible. They are collected as eggs dug up from nests or from recently caught gravid females, or dug from burrows at hatchlings. The pet trade calls animals collected as hatchlings "wild caught" and animals collected other ways "ranched, farmed" or "captive born". These terms are intended to mislead consumers into thinking the trade is more sustainable, whereas in fact it is more profitable and much more damaging to wild populations.




ImageThe pet trade pefers to catch gravid females because they pay the collectors less and can market freshly hatched babies early in the season when demand is high and suplly is low. After the females have laid eggs they are simply dumped and have almost no chance of survival. Even the least educated hunters in the world know that hunting the pregnant females is not sustainable. Avoid ranched and captive hatched animals, and when dealers claim their animals are captive bred, ask to see proof of them hatching.

The trade in wild caught savannah monitor lizards is not of global conservation concern because the range of the species is vast and pet trade collecting occurs over a relatively small area.  But the same techniques are used for Indonesian species of monitor lizard that occur on only tiny islands. Collection of endemic monitor lizards from small isands for the pet trade is a very serious threat to their survival.



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William Oliver. Champion of biodiversity and its students. So many of us benefited from his advice and expertise. What a character. RIP.


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The Butaan Project - Foraging behaviour

butaan7.jpgWe use feces to investigate diet and activity areas of butaan. In total we have examined more than 1500 samples, possibly the largest ever collected for a single population of reptiles.  Butaan and their relatives are huge specialised frugivores, much bigger than any other specialised frugivorous animal in  the Philippines. They need a constant supply of fruit but lack the wings that allow other frugivores to forage in different forest fragments. Large and immobile, the butaan depends on a very narrow range of foods.



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