They were being used to make musical instruments; 72-year-old man booked
The skins of the protected reptiles had been placed in clay pots by the accused
On December 31, 2022, the deputy conservator of forests (DCF), Thane forest department (territorial), received a tip-off that the skin of the reptiles was being used to make musical instruments.
DCF Santosh Saste prepared a strategy and instructions were given to forest department officials to raid the premises of the unit.
Under the guidance of Assistant Conservator of Forest (ACF) Girija Desai, Range Forest Officer (RFO) Rakesh Bhoir from Mumbai range, RFO Roshan Shinde, and Forest Officers Surendra Patil and Manisha Mahale, the raid was conducted at Kumbharwada in Somwar Bazaar in the presence of members of the NGO Tales of Hope Animal Rescue Foundation, Akshay Chandran and Ganesh Dabhade.
A forest department official said, “The seized 117 Indian monitor lizard skins were placed in clay pots at the unit, which was also the residence of the accused, Bhagwan Sudam Mandalkar, 72. A case has been registered against Mandalkar under sections of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972.”
Wildlife poaching and trade in lesser-known species is a huge problem that needs to be addressed with utmost urgency. Experts feel that while attention is generally given to mega-species such as tigers, monitor lizards, pangolins, jackals, lorises, bears, tortoises and owls, many other species are being hunted at an alarming rate.
The Indian monitor lizard is protected under Schedule 1 of the 1972 Act and any trade involving the animal or its body parts is an offence. The lizards are usually hunted for food and also killed for their skin. There is also a belief that the oil extracted from the lizard’s body can be used as an ointment for skin injuries.
Day in December when officials got tip-off