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A Preliminary Study of the Ecology of the Crocodile Monitor Lizard Varanus salvadorii Print E-mail

 andreas croc monitor 300.jpg The crocodile monitor, Varanus salvadorii, is one of the largest and most enigmatic lizards in the world, but virtually nothing is known about its natural history and ecology. Previous attempts to study the animals have not been successful, so although it is regularly seen in captivity it remains almost unknown in the wild. This study aims to demonstrate the feasibility of detailed studies of the ecology of crocodile monitors by employing high effort camera trapping in an area known to be occupied by the lizards. The project costs are minimised because field work will be conducted alongside an existing project at Variarata National Park, Papua New Guinea. During February 2020 we will set camera traps in places likely to be used by the lizards, which will be maintained by local rangers for at least a year. The success of the project depends on adequate camera trapping effort, and we need funding to buy camera traps. The preferred device for this project is the Reconyx Hyperfire 2 Covert IR, which costs about $450 in the UK.  We hope to set 26 of these devices, which will allow almost 10,000 days of camera trapping over the year.  Please considering sponsoring a camera, or part of a camera, to help us learn more about this extraordinary animal.

  Click here for full details of the project. Image courtesy of Andreas Iosifakis.

 
 

 

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The Butaan Project
Varanus bitatawa

Varanus bitatawa is the third species of  monitor lizard to be recognised by science that belongs to the "Pandan Biawak" group,  all of which are of at least as great a conservation concern as the Komodo dragon, but receive virtually none of the attention. Pandan Biawak occur only in lowland dipterocarp forest. The first species (Varanus olivaceus or Butaan) was discovered in 1845 and not seen alive by a scientist until the late 1970s. The next species (Varanus mabitang or Mabitang) was discovered in 2001 and in 2010 Varanus bitatawa (Butikaw or Bitatawa) was described. Other species of frugivorous monitor lizards may remain undescribed, but many may have  gone extinct without ever having been recognised.

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