SIALKOT - Monitors, tropical carnivorous lizards which are found in deserted places especially of Dera Ismail Khan, Dera Ghazi Khan, Karachi, Peshawar and Nowshera like other parts of the world, are on the verge of extinction in Pakistan due their large-scale hunt for preparation of oil for various usages, it is learnt.
Immigrants of Jammu & Kashmir call it “Sana”, Pashtuns name it “Sandeir”and Punjabis call it “Saanda”, which is the most famous for its oil. People who hunt monitors and sell them or their oil are called “Sanyasis”.
Sanyasis’ forefathers used to eat monitors, particularly their tongue and liver whereas in Pakistan, different parts of monitors are used for a variety of medicinal purposes. The flesh is eaten for relief in rheumatic pain, abdominal fat as a salve for skin infections, fats to treat haemorrhoids or chronic pain, and oil is used as an aphrodisiac lubricant.
It is not Haram but Maqrooh and is eaten by the Arabs. Some Baloch and Pashtoon tribes also eat it traditionally but now people throughout Pakistan buy it. People buy them to illegally export in Arab states and the demand is so high that monitors will probably extinct in another decade, a Sanyasi feared.
They dwell in 6 to 8 meter deep narrow trenches. Sanyasis have to become very attentive otherwise, the monitors escape or consume yellow fat layer around its kidneys which is used for making oil. On average 2 to 3 grams of oil is taken from a monitor which is sold at Rs3,500.
Muhammad Ismail Ansari, In-charge of Physiotherapist Surgimed Hospital Lahore, said, “We use natural oils while treating but not as much as people in conservative treatment do. For example, if there is any problem in the elbow joint, we do not recommend any tropical massage because there is a natural tendency for the growth of bone inside the muscle but for temporary relief in other joints like knee joint, we use them tropical along with ultrasonics.” Ansari said it was effective if used on lower back but it was not recommended so often.
When contacted, District Officer Forests Haroon Tufail said that the country had no laws for the protection of monitors unlike India, where a sentence of seven years is given if a person is caught with a monitor in his custody. He said, “Monitor hunt and its illegal export to Arab nations is stoppable if the secretary forests bans the hunt.”