Sierra Madre forest monitor
DISTRIBUTION: Philippines (for detailed distribution data, see Auliya & Koch 2020)
RED LIST STATUS: Near Threatened (NT) in 2021
CITES: Appendix II
NATIONAL PROTECTION: Under the Republic Act No. 9147 of the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act of 2001. The widespread use of monitor lizards for self-supply plus traditional use is illegal and largely uncontrolled in the Philippines.
THREATS: Clearing of the Sierra Madre forest and associated development of infrastructure are major threats to this forest dweller; the resulting fragmented forest patches and thinned tree cover facilitate hunting for this highly priced species as bushmeat and traditional uses.
RESEARCH NEEDS: Surveys targeting records of the species in the northern and central Cordillera mountain range would be of particular interest. The extent to which the species may extend southward into the foothills of the Cordillera mountain range are unknown, and of particular interest.
Awareness conservation programs need to be set up in line with improved stringent enforcement of Philippine laws.
CURRENT PROJECTS: Currently not known.
Adult Varanus bitatawa sold for consumption was rescued by a citizen and released in the wild in Cagayan Province, Luzon © Emerson Y. Sy