Jasper Lim‘s image of a Malayan Water Monitor (Varanus salvator) was photographed around Singapore’s Buona Vista Mass Rapid Transit Station. Around the neck of the lizard is a red collar.
Nature Consultant Subaraj Rajathurai LINK wrote: “I do not think this guy simply sports a cool necklace!” He believes that “…someone tried to catch this guy with a plastic noose but he broke free?”
“Unfortunately, capture and consumption of monitor lizards still goes on in Singapore, despite it being illegal. Due to the lack of enforcement, some people still catch them for food,” adds Subaraj. “I wonder if they still have 2-3 dangling on hooks at Chinatown market during the pre-dawn hours?”
Biologist Dr Leong Tzi Ming agrees that the noose is the remains of a wire noose that may have been used to trap such animals for food. Added Tzi Ming, “…This lucky lizard may have managed to get away.”
The Malayan Water Monitor is quite common near water bodies and canals. It has an important role in the food web, keeping the population of amphibians and reptiles in check. Being a scavenger, it removes rubbish and carrion from the urban environment. And the young lizards serve as food for birds of prey and herons.
People should be discouraged from trapping them. It is a part of Singapore’s biodiversity. Besides, it is a protected animal.
Jasper Lim, Subaraj Rajathurai & Dr Leong Tzi Ming