Harvesting of a Bolivian lizard for its purported healing powers is leading to its depletion, report researchers writing in Tropical Conservation Science.
Erika De la Galvez Murillo and Luis F. Pacheco of the Universidad Mayor de San Andrés found that collection of the Andean Tree Iguana or “Jararank’o” (Liolaemus signifer), a lizard found on Bolivia’s dry Altiplano, for use in traditional medicine reduced population by nearly half relative to unharvested sites. They note that the species may suffer increased mortality when dens are destroyed during harvesting since mother lizards — targeted by collectors for their size — care for their young.
Juvenile Liolaemus signifer. Courtesy of Erika de La Gálvez and Luis F. Pacheco 2009
To improve the sustainability of the practice the authors suggest that hunters avoid collecting females and destroying dens.
Erika de La Gálvez and Luis F. Pacheco 2009. Abundancia y estructura poblacional de la lagartija jararank’o (Liolaemus signifer; Liolaemidae-Lacertilia-Reptilia) en zonas
con y sin extracción comercial en el Altiplano de Bolivia. Tropical Conservation Science Vol. 2 (1):70-87.