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Chennai: Video of monitor lizard killed for blood goes viral

Chennai: Video of monitor lizard killed for blood goes viral
(Photo: video grab)

Chennai: A few hours after a video clipping of a monitor lizard being slit and its blood poured into glasses went viral in social media and Tamil news portals, the top brass of the state wildlife headquarters here on Tuesday sounded an alert to its field rangers.

The visuals show a man slicing up the neck of a monitor lizard, locally called as ‘Udumbu’ in Tamil. Then, the oozing out blood is collected in disposable glasses and gulped by a few men standing nearby.

“It’s a disturbing video and the rangers in Chennai and Kancheepuram have been alerted to look out for those involved in the wildlife crime. Culling of monitor lizard is a serious offence under wildlife protection act and the reptile endemic to Western and Eastern ghats in South India is a protected scheduled animal”, Chennai wildlife warden K. Geethanjali told DC.

According to informed wildlife sources the source of the video is tipped to be from Palavanthangal and the wildlife wing has reached out to the wildlife activists and those with intelligence on wildlife poaching.

Narikuravas in Kancheepuram have been traditionally engaged in poaching and selling of monitor lizards and the rangers are now monitoring a few tribal groups settled near Chennai, sources said, adding that the tribes have been promoting that consumption of lizard blood and meat will cure ailments by strengthening muscles.