A local court in Amreli has sent a 20-year-old man to jail for allegedly trying to hunt a common Indian monitor lizard, Varanus bengalensis, earlier this week in Liliya taluka of Amreli district.
Forest officers said that based on a tip-off, a team jointly led by PR Moradiya and MJ Kahavadiya, foresters of Krakach and Liliya rounds respectively, cracked down on a gang of hunters who were hunting lizards in guachar (grazing land) of Khara village of Lililya taluka on June 16. The forest team caught one Raju Vaghela allegedly in possession of an injured monitor lizard, while others managed to flee.
Common Indian monitor lizard has been included in Schedule-I of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, and its hunting can earn one imprisonment up to seven years. Forest officers said that an offence has been registered against Vaghela at Liliya range forest office.
“During questioning, the accused told officers that he was trying to hunt the lizard to extract its fat,” Dushyant Vasavada, Chief Conservator of Forests (CCF) of Junagadh Wildlife Circle, told The Indian Express on Friday.
Liliya range is part of Shetrunji Wildlife Division falling in the Junagadh circle. “The injured lizard has been shifted to Sakkarbagu zoo in Junagadh for treatment and it is still alive,” Vasavada further said. “Many believe that oil extracted from this species of lizard provides relief to those having rheumatism”
Vaghela is a resident of Khara village. After picking him up, forest officials got him tested for coronavirus. Once the test results came negative, the officials produced Vaghela in a local court on June 18 and he was sent to judicial custody till July 2.
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