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The Dragon of the Aeta and Ilongot

Published: April 10, 2010, Author: MHirch

A “new” species was confirmed by biologists. Known and eaten by the indigenous nations of the Phillippines, Aeta and Ilongot, for a long time. The animal recently in the spotlight of scientific attention (Biology Letters a journal of the Royal Society) is one of only three frugivorous monitor lizards in the world, closely related to the Komodo dragon of Indonesia, living in the northeastern coast of the island of Luzon, Philippines. Indigenous groups call the two meter long species “bitatawa” which became the basis for the lizard`s modern scientific name, varanus bitatawa.
Apart from providing insight into important aspects of biogeography this “discovery” underlines that the Philippines clearly are a hotspot of biodiversity.

When do we start to see the world through local peoples’ eyes and learn to behold all the diversity and wealth the world has to offer? Only when we fully realize this will we try to protect the beauty that surrounds us by all means.

Chief George Manuel Memorial Indigenous Library

The library is dedicated to the memory of Secwepemc Chief George Manuel (1921-1989), to the nations of the Fourth World and to the elders and generations to come.

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