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Varanus boehmei 

Scope:Global
Status_ne_offStatus_dd_onStatus_lc_offStatus_nt_offStatus_vu_offStatus_en_offStatus_cr_offStatus_ew_offStatus_ex_off

Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Reptilia Squamata Varanidae

Scientific Name: Varanus boehmei
Species Authority: Jacobs, 2003
Common Name(s):
English Golden Speckled Tree Monitor
Taxonomic Notes: This species was described in 2003; it is a distinct species within the Varanus prasinus species group (Ziegler et al. 2007).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Data Deficient ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2014-07-25
Assessor(s): Allison, A., Shea, G. & Tallowin, O.
Reviewer(s): Bennett, D.
Contributor(s): De Silva, R., Milligan, H.T., Wearn, O.R., Wren, S., Zamin, T., Sears, J., Wilson, P., Lewis, S., Lintott, P., Powney, G. & Sweet, S.
Justification:
Varanus boehmei has been assessed as Data Deficient. It is currently known only from Waigeo island in West Papua Province, Indonesian New Guinea. Its range is therefore restricted to these islands, with an estimated extent of occurrence of approximately 3,442 km². Its true range, however, is a matter of uncertainty as it is only known for certain on the eastern side of the island. It has been recorded in various forested habitats but these are under increasing threat from conversion and deforestation. This species is under threat from the international pet trade, although this trade has reduced in recent yearsSince this is unlikely to be due to a reduction in demand, it is vital that investigations into the distribution and population status of this species are carried out urgently in order to facilitate an accurate conservation assessment in the future. It is listed under Appendix II of CITES but does not have protection status in Indonesian New Guinea. It is present in a protected areas.

Further research on this species population status, habitats, threats and a program to monitor its harvest and trade levels is required before an accurate assessment can be made.
Previously published Red List assessments:
  • 2010 – Data Deficient (DD)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is presumed to be endemic to Indonesian New Guinea where it is known only from the island of Waigeo in West Papua Province. It is thought to be mainly found on the eastern part of the island near the coast (Jacobs 2003, Philipp and Philipp 2007, Koch et al. 2010). Although there is no knowledge of a verified specimen or photograph from this area, it may also inhabit West Waigeo (S. Sweet pers. comm. 2007). The two known museum specimens were however both collected from the wildlife trade (D. Bennett pers. comm. 2015) and therefore the species' true distribution is unknown. A recent survey of the herpetofauna of Waigeo did not report this species (Hamidy and Mulyadi 2007). The total area of Waigeo Island is approximately 3,442 km².
Countries occurrence:
Native:
Indonesia (Papua)
Additional data:
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:Tree monitors are difficult to survey, and the island has rarely been visited by herpetologists. Only two museum specimens are known (G. Shea pers. comm. 2014, D. Bennett pers. comm. 2015).
Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:The island of Waigeo is dominated by moist lowland forest and mangrove forest. Therefore this species is likely to be a forest specialist. Being an island isolate derived from V. prasinus, it is likely to have a similar ecology, which would imply a largely arboreal lifestyle. According to animal traders this is an arboreal species and is found in coastal areas in the eastern areas of Waigeo (Philipp and Philipp 2007).
Systems:Terrestrial

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade:

Most varanid species are popular in the international pet trade. This is especially true for the Papuan species (Yuwono 1998). Due to its restricted range and exploitation by the international pet trade this species must be considered threatened (Koch et al. 2010). Natusch and Lyons (2012) noted the trade of this species from Voglekop in West Papua Province, Indonesian New Guinea. Two individuals of this species were recorded at wildlife traders between September 2010 - April 2011. This species is listed under CITES but does not have protected status in Indonesia. There is no quota for this species. CITES data report 311 live specimens exported between 2005 and 2015.

In recent years this species has not been encountered much in the commercial market. Although it may be bred in captivity, well in excess of 90% of the animals in the US trade are wild-caught (S. Sweet pers. comm. 2007). Captive breeding seems more feasible than for most other monitors, and the high sale value acts to encourage continuing efforts by hobbyists (S. Sweet pers. comm. 2007).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): This species is likely threatened by collection for the pet trade, with around 90% of the animals in the trade being taken from the wild (S. Sweet pers. comm. 2007). There appears to have been little trade in the species in recent years, but this is unlikely to be caused by a reduction in demand. This species is likely to be harvested opportunistically for the trade by local collectors, and Waigeo has relatively easy boat access for animal traders, however, it may not be subject to targeted collection (A. Allison pers. comm. 2014). The lowland rainforest and mangrove habitat in which this species has been observed is under increasing threat from deforestation and urban development (Philipp and Philipp 2007); however, this is a limestone karst area and this rough terrain is likely to buffer some of the forest from destruction (A. Allison and G. Shea pers. comm. 2014).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species is listed under Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). No species-specific protection is in place (Natusch and Lyons 2012); although there is a nature reserve on Waigeo, it is unknown to what extent this effectively protects the forest. Further research on this species distribution, population status, habitats, threats and monitoring its harvest and trade levels is recommended.

Citation: Allison, A., Shea, G. & Tallowin, O. 2016. Varanus boehmei. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T178267A21646951. . Downloaded on 25 July 2016.
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