Officials warn against disturbing wildlife

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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) -- A larger than normal population of collared lizards is concerning for wildlife officials. The increasing number of the lizards may mean more reptile hunters heading to the monument.

Last month, a visitor saw a man remove a dead or dying collared lizard from the Devil's Kitchen Trail and leave it on the pavement in the parking area. The visitor took photos of the incident.

Then, by chance, rangers discovered the suspect at Mesa County jail- just as he was being released for other charges.

And when confronted with the evidence, the man admitted to charges of disturbing wildlife. Chief Ranger Mark Davison says if it was not for the efforts of park visitors, the suspect would not have been apprehended.

The Colorado National Monument urges visitors to report any suspicious activity to a park ranger or dial 911.

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