Varanus olivaceus

Gray’s monitor


DISTRIBUTIONPhilippines (for detailed distribution data, see Auliya & Koch 2020)

RED LIST STATUS: Vulnerable (VU) in 2021

CITES: Appendix II

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

THREATS: Ongoing deforestation and fragmentation of primary forest pose the greatest threat to this arboreal monitor lizard species. In the process, forest patches adjacent to agricultural areas are shrinking and it seems that the existing protected areas no longer offer sufficient space to maintain a viable population of V. olivaceus. Degradation of forest habitats is also taking place in protected forest reserves. Also, V. olivaceus is hunted for bushmeat and the capture of juveniles for the international pet trade must also be considered as threat to the species.

RESEARCH NEEDS: The status and extent of remaining populations on the Bicol peninsula, Catanduanes Isl., and other small islands associated with the Bicol peninsula, are virtually unknown.

Despite V. olivaceus being widespread throughout the Bicol peninsula, no studies of it (in its natural habitat) have been conducted at any sites other than the Caramoan (see Auffenberg 1988, “Gray’s M onitor Lizard) throughout this heavily human-populated, extensively developed region of the Philippines, with very little remaining habitat.

A record of V. olivaceus is reported from eastern Luzon, however rumours suggested that the animal had been released in the park after being confiscated from the western side of the island. Field work should investigate whether a natural population of V. olivaceus occurs in eastern Luzon.

CURRENT PROJECTS: Currently not known.

Adult Varanus olivaceus, pet trade, Bali; © Mark Auliya