Known as: Panay Monitor Lizard, Mabitang
Estimated numbers left in wild: Defined as a separate species in 2001, there are no reliable estimates of numbers in the wild. Only 12 of these lizards have been captured. However, the population of the Panay monitor lizard appears to be falling.
The Panay monitor lizard is much more slender than is usually the case with lizards in this family. The background coloration of the lizard is a dark grey-brown with black markings. The head is elongated and the tail is longer than the body and head combined.
The Panay monitor lizard lives a life in the treetops, and is considered by some to exist solely on fruit found there. However, there is also reason to believe that this monitor will also take bird eggs when available and perhaps insects. Its preferred habitat is in well-established trees in the lowlands rainforest (mature trees will be most likely to produce fruit) on Panay Island.
Not very much is known, at this point, about the breeding habits of the Panay monitor lizard. Because the species was only described in 2001, little research has been done on even the most basic facts of this lizard’s life.
Location: The Panay monitor lizard is found exclusively on Panay Island in the Philippines. It needs mature rainforest, with sufficient fruiting trees to survive.
Threats: There are a number of threats confronting the Panay monitor lizard. One of the most serious is habitat destruction as the island is logged for its rare trees. Agricultural use also restricts the monitor’s range as human populations expand. These lizards are unable to survive in disturbed forests where fruit trees are absent or infrequent.
In addition to habitat loss, the Panay monitor lizard is also hunted by the indigenous population of the island for food.
Conservation efforts: Because the Panay monitor lizard is now on the CITES list, this animal cannot be legally exported without a permit. Several NGOs are working with the Philippine government to preserve forest areas for the monitors. Study of the lizard is ongoing to provide more information that will contribute to its survival. Programs to educate villagers about the value of this rare lizard are designed to prevent them from being taken as food.
Do you know of or are you a part of an organisation that work to conserve the Panay Monitor Lizard, then please contact us to have it featured on Our Endangered World.