Varanus griseus  

Desert monitor

TAXONOMY: This species complex currently includes three distinct populations, V. g. griseus, V. griseus caspius and V. griseus koniecznyi (for distribution data see Auliya & Koch 2020).

DISTRIBUTIONAfghanistan, Algeria, Egypt, India, Israel, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, Yemen (see Auliya & Koch 2020)

RED LIST STATUS: Least Concern (LC) in 2016

CITES: Appendix I

NATIONAL PROTECTION:

Kazakhstan. – Conservation of V. griseus is primarily promoted by the Red Data Book of Kazakhstan (Red Data Book of Kazakhstan, 2010), as a species that is declining in numbers (category II). Following decrees and orders of the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan are relevant:

  • Law of the Republic of Kazakhstan dated July 9, 2004 No. 593-II
  • Order of the Ministry of Agriculture of the Republic of Kazakhstan dated January 27, 2004 No. 31
  • Resolution of the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan dated June 2, 2012 No. 734
  • Order of the Minister of Environment and Water Resources of the Republic of Kazakhstan dated April 4, 2014 No. 104-Ө.

India. – Listed in Schedule 1, Part II of the Wildlife (Protection) Act of India, 1972

THREATS:

General. – Increase and intensification of agriculture and livestock farming,  trade for varying purposes (medicine, decor, food, pets, leather), urbanization.

Kazakhstan. – Major threat is the destruction of its habitats and the increasing anthropogenic load in its habitats. Its populations are negatively affected by the sharply negative attitude of local residents, who in most cases, when encounter a Desert monitor, try to kill it.

RESEARCH NEEDS:

General. – Assess the impact of the varying threats on local populations; a socio-economic study resulting in awareness programs; reassess the taxonomic status of this species-complex.

Kazakhstan. -regular studies are needed to assess the abundance of the Desert monitor, its distribution and threats. Due to the lack of constant funding, many issues of biology and ecology of the Desert monitor remain not fully understood, and research has been interrupted in some aspects.

CURRENT PROJECTS:

Kazakhstan. – 2008 – present – currently, there are no specific projects on the Desert monitor in Kazakhstan. Unfunded private research is being carried out within the framework of work on the dissertation of Yulia A. Zima on the topic “DESERT MONITOR (VARANUS GRISEUS DAUDIN, 1803) IN KAZAKHSTAN: DISTRIBUTION, ECOLOGY, PROTECTION”

Adult Varanus griseus, Karaktau Mts., Kyzylkum desert, Turkestan region, Kazakhstan, April 2019 © Yulia Zima

Adult Varanus griseus, vicinity of the city of Saryagash, Turkestan region, Kazakhstan, May 2021 © Yulia Zima

Adult Varanus griseus, vicinity of the city of Saryagash, Turkestan region, Kazakhstan, May 2021 © Yulia Zima

Adult Varanus griseus, Rajasthan, India © Dharmendra Khandal

Subadult Varanus griseus, Rajasthan, India © Dharmendra Khandal

Adult Varanus griseus, Rajasthan, India © Dharmendra Khandal