Varanus cumingi

Cuming’s water monitor


DISTRIBUTION: Philippines (for detailed distribution data, see Auliya & Koch 2020)

RED LIST STATUS: Least Concern (LC) in 2021

CITES: Appendix II

NATIONAL PROTECTION: Under the Republic Act No. 9147 of the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act of 2001

THREATS: After a ban on the national (consumption, souvenir) and international use (skins, pet) of V. cumingi, populations recovered and increased (especially after the trade in skins was suspended). However, at the national level, parts of the species continue to be offered as souvenirs and for consumption at local markets (see also images on this website > Threats > Domestic use) aswell as illegal removals for the international trade (see website > Threats > International trade). It is not known to what extent illegal extraction, also for exports, threatens the species locally and regionally; more recent research is needed on this.

RESEARCH NEEDS: Newer field research is long overdue, particularly comparing status/viability of populations within its range, and in fact confirming the speices’ entire distribution, also including taxonomic studies of populations to be verified as V. cumingi.  What is the relationship of various local communities with populations of this species; how do they perceive the population development or assess potential threats to V. cumingi?

As part of general awareness campaigns and environmental education programmes for schools/universities and local communities, information should be provided on the diversity of monitor lizards of the Philippines and their role in their native ecosystems.

CURRENT PROJECTS: Currently not known!

Adult Varanus cumingi, Mindanao Island © Maren Gaulke

Adult Varanus cumingi, Mindanao Island © Rafe M. Brown