|The recovered gecko
Tezpur, Aug. 24: Tezpur police today arrested two persons with a tokay gecko (Gekko gecko), a nocturnal Asian lizard, from Tezpur Ganesh Mill Chariali in Sonitpur district.
The duo have been identified as Kukil Saikia, 40 and Dharamjeet Kakoti, 43.
According to police sources, the two persons were to sell the reptile outside which commands a huge money in the international market. The reptile weighs 320 grams and is about 40cm in length.
Sub-inspector of Tezpur sadar police station Pratap Gogoi said the reptile was hidden in the house and a Bolero vehicle was ready to take them outside. A case has been registered under Section 51 of the Wildlife Protection Act.
A few days back, Dilip Nunisa, chief of Dima Hasao Dal, a political party floated by former cadres of the Dima Halam Daogah after its disbanding, was arrested from Guwahati with another person while they were carrying a tockay gecko in their car.
In January, Guwahati police arrested eight persons, including five from Mizoram, while they were carrying a gecko.
According to sources, buyers are looking for bigger tokays measuring not less than 35.5cm (14 inches) in length and weighing about 200 gram. Such large specimens are said to fetch more than Rs 20 lakh in the international market.
A forest official in Sonitpur district said they have got information that some people in Balipara near Nameri National Park and Potachali are searching for the lizard species.
TRAFFIC, an international wildlife trade monitoring network, has expressed concern at the massive increase in trade of geckos and has warned that if the trend continues to mushroom, it could take years to repair the damage currently being inflicted on the gecko population.
Last year, a local court in Manipur had fined two persons involved in trade of tokay geckos under the Wildlife Protection Act.