The Butaan *read as /'boo-tah-an'/* was first described to science in 1845 from a small preserved specimen and a skull collected by an American biologist and was only labeled “Philippines”. It was later renamed “Varanus grayi” and for almost 150 years, no other specimen was found.
Assumed to be extinct, it was only rediscovered in the 1970s, when scientists found a specimen in the collection of Walter Auffenberg in the American Museum of Natural History. This triggered numerous trips by American scientists to the Philippines in search for this lost specie. They later corrected the name to “Varanus olivaceus”.
The Butaans live up the trees and exclusively feed on fruits, almost exclusively on Panadanas palm tree. *so, unless you look like a plump fruit, no need to worry*. Since these lizards are virtually unknown, a further study by the great biologist Daniel Bennet is on progress. (Check your Animal Planet program schedule).
This specie of monitor lizard may not be as large as the Komodos but they are the world’s largest fruit eating monitor lizards *so we’re safe here, no need to run*. Wait!…it is said that it grow as long as 7 feet! *whadda?! I don't know about you but I’m still gonna run!* They are currently identified to exist only on one small island “Pollilio” off the Pacific coast of the Philippines.
Only 1 sq. mi. is left of their habitat and with the rate we are destroying our environment, time is running out for them.
How can a creature as big as this evade modern science? All scientists agreed on one thing – the Butaans are tremendously and extremely shy creatures. This uncanny ability to elude us is enough reason to preserve this specie.
***Though the Komodo Dragon preservation gets a lot of funding, the Butaan is still struggling to find support for their protection. Here's how you can help.
OR if you have a blog...you can feature them to create awareness and maybe, just maybe, we can make a difference and protect the Butaans.