Dead leguaan sparks outrage

2008-04-21 00:00

THE picture of the rock monitor (leguaan) in yesterday’s Witness stirred a hornet’s nest among readers.

The contentious issue was whether Epworth resident Len Naidoo could have saved the reptile from his dog, Hunter, as it is a protected species.

“I really object to Len Naidoo looking so pleased and proud of his dog. He should be shocked and horrified that the dog killed a protected and harmless animal,” said reader Linda.

“I hope you don’t feel as proud as your stupid dog looks for killing a beautiful animal. Maybe you should find other ways to get yourself and your pathetic dog into the newspapers.

“Keep the shades on, dude, and maybe get a pair for the dog,” wrote another reader.

In African tradition, leguaans are important for making muthi to prevent bad spells from invading households.

According to Gareth Coleman, who runs a nursery in Eshowe and used to keep the reptiles, leguaans are not aggressive, although they can be dangerous when protecting themselves. He said they are vulnerable because there are people who enjoy eating their meat, and because traditional healers use their skins and fat to make muthi.

“As a result you find people setting dogs on them because they want to eat them or sell them to izinyanga [traditional healers]. Depending on the situation, it you come across it you can either let it go, or call SPCA or [Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife],” said Coleman.

bhans@witness.co.za

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