Monitor lizards are hunted by poachers who sell blood and body parts for supposed medicinal purposes. Photo: iStock.

Wildlife officers in India rescued three monitor lizards and arrested a poacher on October 29.

According to wildlife officer V. Mohan, authorities received a tip-off on Monday and arrested a 54-year-old suspect and rescued three monitor lizards that were reportedly taken from Kandigai reserve forests in Chennai, India, the Times of India reported.

Deputy director Uma of Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (Southern Region) said a number of rare animals that are protected under the 1972 Wildlife Protection Act are bought and sold online every day.

Another official from the wildlife department pointed out that pangolins and monitor lizards are heavily sought after, which makes them a lucrative target for poachers. Because of this, the bureau has formed an exclusive wing dedicated to handling online cases.

Monday’s arrest is nothing new in India. A 2015 report from the Times of India uncovered brutal practices in Krishnagiri in southern India, where people killed monitor lizards for the sole purpose of extracting their blood. Lizard blood was and still is being sold for its supposed aphrodisiac qualities.

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