During a recent visit to the Somorika Hills of Igarra area, Edo State, in south-western Nigeria, we happened upon a monitor lizard caught in a local trap near a river on the outskirts of Igarra town. It was quite a surprise to find such an elusive fauna in a basement (hard rock) terrain like that of Igarra, although a lot of its species have been found to be terrestrial.
Just after we stumbled upon the trapped animal in the forest, a local hunter came out of the thickets and claimed the trap was his own and that the animal belongs to him; within an instant he used his cutlass on the animal and sliced its throat. On asking him a few questions about monitor lizard sightings in the area, it is obvious that the locals see these beautiful animals as mere sources of food than endangered creatures that need to be replenished in the wilds. He also told us how the population of the monitor lizards along the river channel had diminished over the years due to hunting by the locals.
- The awe-inspiring landscape of Igarra, Edo State.
After the short discussion, the farmer hurried away into the forest, with the bleeding monitor lizard in his rustic jute sac. This discovery is an amazing one to us and we hope that someday efforts to conserve these amazing endangered species will yield useful results.
Stay connected to our “Unusual Fauna in Unusual Places” series and get to know those endangered animal species lurking in your ‘backyard’.
Below is a video of the trapped monitor lizard: