The police and wildlife activists succeeded in seizing 40 monitor lizards — they fall in the endangered species bracket — from a man allegedly selling them as an aphrodisiac in Delhi late Monday.
The police arrested the man identified as Prabhu (48) from a park near Paschim Vihar in West Delhi. They lizards were found stuffed inside four gunnysacks.
“The accused was presented to the court on Tuesday and sent to judicial custody,” said Sharad Aggarwal, DCP (West).
Wildlife SOS, a Delhi-government partner NGO in wildlife protection initiatives, took the 40 full-grown lizards in their possession.
The lizards will be released into the wild.
“The man is from Dausa in Rajasthan, from where he would coming to Delhi with consignments of endangered animals,” said a senior police officer at the Khayala police station that conducted the operation.
“These traders find a rich market in Delhi.”
Schedule 1 of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, confers monitor lizards the highest legal protection available to endangered wildlife in India. Offenders booked under this law can be jailed for up to six years with a penalty of Rs 25000, or both.
“People tie the hands of the lizard, skin it, boil it and then eat the meat with a belief that it’s an aphrodisiac,” said Kartick Satyanaryana, co-founder of Wildlife SOS. “Live monitor lizards are usually sold for Rs 500-1000 each.”