DENR National Capital Region, through its North Field Office (NFO), retrieved a Luzon Monitor Lizard (Varanus marmoratus) on Saturday, 4 September 2021, from Barangay Gen. T. De Leon, Valenzuela City.

Known commonly as “bayawak”, the reptile was captured by a resident after it entered their backyard. She then immediately contacted DENR National Capital Region via its Facebook page for assistance. The NFO was advised of the request and, in response, assembled a team to retrieve the animal despite it being a weekend.

The monitor lizard was then brought to the Wildlife Rescue Center at the Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife Center in Quezon City for a health checkup and rehabilitation under Republic Act No. 9147 or the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act of 2001.

There are 11 endemic species of bayawaks in the Philippines. Three are fruit-eating species and eight are carnivorous. The Luzon Monitor Lizard belongs to the latter and, per DENR Administrative Order 2019-09, it is classified as “Threatened”.

In general, the populations of monitor lizards are decreasing because of hunting, killing, and illegal wildlife trade, along with habitat loss. RA 9147 penalizes the collection, possession, and trade of wildlife.