Viagra 2.0: Monitor lizard's blood mixed with rum

Chinna was caught trying to sell a live monitor lizard on Saturday. PIC: NGO TRAFFIC

The arrest of a wildlife trafficker trying to sell a live monitor lizard in the city on Saturday has shed light on a trade in which animals are allegedly killed to create a Viagra elixir to treat sexual dysfunction in men. 

A senior wildlife activist who tipped off the forest department said the monitor lizard trade had surged in recent times, with many of the animals being transported into Bengaluru on weekends. 

Although some of the animals are sold as bushmeat to restaurants as revealed by the arrest of a man caught with four lizards in his possession on October 17, evidence now suggests that some lizards are being killed for other purposes. 

“Their blood is being mixed in rum which is then sold as a sort of Viagra, mainly to the IT and real estate clientele,” the activist said.

The activist added that there was no basis of any kind that the blood of these lizards had medicinal properties. 

The arrested man was identified as 29-year-old Chinna, a member of the Hakki Pikki tribal community in Kolar. He was found with a single, live lizard in his possession. 

Forest officials said Chinna has had previous run-ins with the law for other illegalities. Among these was a stint as a professional monkey catcher, an illegal occupation which Chinna proudly advertised on business cards carrying his name and phone number. 

On Saturday morning, however, Chinna’s escapades came to an end at KR Puram, in front of Sri Vinayaka Jewellers, when he was arrested by members of the Forest Vigilance Squad, following information from Traffic, the international NGO which monitors the illegal trade in wild animals. The raid was led by Deputy Conservator of Forests G A Gangadhar. 

The lizard is now recovering at the Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre, Bannerghatta. Chinna told forest officials that he had captured the creature along the Andhra Pradesh-Tamil Nadu border. 

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