The Flying Squad of the DWLC has raided the residence of a person in Ja-Ela on 03.10.2016, and has recovered 18 live specimens of Horned Lizards belonging to the two species known as the Rhino-horned Lizard (Ceratophora stoddartii) and the Leaf-nose Lizard(Ceratophora tennentii),being kept for the purpose of illegal export(Smuggling).
The suspect has been charged for four offences and has pleaded guilty today and has been fined Rupees 200000/=by the Negombo Magistrates Courts.
The Strictly Protected Reptiles under Section 30(2) of the Fauna and Flora Protection Ordinance include all members of Horned Lizards (Genus- Ceratophora),and are listed in Schedule iii as Ceratophora spp. This genus is also endemic and has five species. It is the only genus of animals that is in the Strictly Protected category which makes all the species Strictly Protected, even if there are any new discoveries of species in future.
They are all endemic and threatened reptiles. Three of them,including the Leaf-nose Lizard(S. tennantii)are in the Critically Endangered (CR) category and the other two,including the Rhino-horn Lizard (C.stroddartii) are in the Endangered (EN) category, according to the National Red Data List of 2012.
It is seen that all offences under Section 30(2) are non-bailable and have strict punishments.
However,it is disappointing to see that the DWLC has only made four charges when there were 18 specimens of them,whereas they could have made 54 charges or at least 36 charges (three charges,for capturing,keeping in possession and attempting to sell or even export) for this,considering the serious nature of the offences.If it had been so,the culprit would have recieved a really good deterrent punishment.
(Photos by DWLC)
Jagath Gunawardana Attorney-at-law