Cops bust gang that sells wild lizard blood as Viagra

dubious concoction

The spiny-tailed lizards endemic to the deserts of Rajasthan seized in Bengaluru. Police believe the animals were to be killed to make aphrodisiacs. PIC COURTESY: POLICE

A gang of poachers trafficking a rare species of lizard from Rajasthan fell into the police net after they were lured to Koramangala on Tuesday.

Ten spiny-tailed lizards endemic to the deserts of Rajasthan were found in a bag which Koramangala police believe was destined for Hosur.

A senior Bengaluru police official revealed the existence of a thriving lizard trade in Hosur, where live monitor lizards is killed and their blood harvested to serve as basis for dubious aphrodisiac concoctions.

“The blood is mixed in rum and then consumed - although it has no medicinal value to humans at all. The meat is usually chopped up and turned into fried snacks,” the officer said.

This latest bust of spiny-tailed lizards comes at a time when police and forest officials have been striving to break up this illicit trade of wildlife lizards which are killed to create dubious “Viagra-like” medicines. Police said the main customers of these treatments were members of Bengaluru’s IT industry.

“This is the first in recent times that the spiny-tailed lizards have been trafficked to Karnataka,” said a veteran wildlife activist.

The spiny-tailed lizard is a protected schedule-2 species which is being hunted to extinction. “People have to realise that eating this animal is nearly equivalent to eating a tiger. It is a criminal act that attracts stiff punishment,” he added.

Though five members of the gang were arrested, police said the ringleader named Ramesh, was still at large. The arrested have been identified as Shakthi, Ivatta Reddy, Karuna, Mayalaraju Chintamani, Gopi and Karuna. Most of the individuals hail from Krishnagiri. The men were booked under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.

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