Desert monitor, an endangered lizard species, has been spotted in the southern city of Şanlıurfa by a team from the Nature Protection and National Parks (DKMP) General Directorate under the Forestry and Water Affairs Ministry. The small desert monitor has been seen in the city's Kızılkuyu Wildlife Development Area.
"Desert Monitor is only seen in Şanlıurfa and Şırnak in Turkey. The ministerial work continues to protect this endangered species. I also remind citizens to be more careful if they happen to see an endangered animal as other works continue to raise awareness of them," Forestry and Water Affairs Minister Veysel Eroğlu said in a statement. Coming from the Varanidae family species, these giant lizards have small heads compared to their body. Their body has either light brown or grey-yellow colors. Their reproduction period is between May and June. They generally live eight years and baby desert monitors' height can be up to 25 centimeters.
The desert monitor occupies arid and semi-arid habitats including savanna and riverbeds up to elevations of 1,300 meters. A specific habitat requirement for this species is the presence of sand or soft soil. The desert monitor has been listed on the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) since 1975 and its international trade is specified as illegal. Since then, there has been a significant decrease in its illegal hunting.