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‘Rare finding’: Asian water monitor seen in Tonle Sap Lake’s northwest

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The Asian water monitor, known locally as “tonsang” or “ansang” and scientifically as Varanus salvator. TONLE SAP AUTHORITY

‘Rare finding’: Asian water monitor seen in Tonle Sap Lake’s northwest

A team of Tonle Sap Authority wildlife conservationists have discovered an Asian water monitor in the Peak Kantel area near Tonle Sap Lake, according to the authority’s deputy director Lim Puy on November 25.

Named after a Sangke River tributary that flows into the northwest corner of Tonle Sap Lake, Peak Kantel is located in the administrative area of Prek Toal village in eastern Ek Phnom district’s Koh Chivaing commune, in the northeastern corner of Battambang province.

Puy noted that the Asian water monitor, known locally as “tonsang” or “ansang” and scientifically as Varanus salvator, is protected by Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (Cites).

He indicated that the varanid lizard is rare in the area, and that the recent discovery is a “positive sign” for conservation efforts around the lake.

Elsewhere however the reptiles are far more common. They are found throughout South and Southeast Asia and are listed on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species as “Least Concern”.

Puy said Asian water monitors reach around 80cm in length and weigh about 1.1kg at breeding maturity.

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