Man arrested with endangered geckos in Assam
A man was Monday arrested from a passenger train at the Guwahati railway station in Assam and 15 gecko lizards were recovered from his possession, officials said.
Guwahati: A man was Monday arrested from a passenger train at the Guwahati railway station in Assam and 15 gecko lizards were recovered from his possession, officials said.
Sanjay Rai was arrested for trying to smuggle the endangered species, Government Railway Police (GRP) officials said.
He told officials he had caught the geckos from Kumarghat in Tripura and was taking those to Siliguri.
"We received information about smuggling of geckos and accordingly carried out a special search operation in the railway station. During the search, we found 15 gecko lizards of various sizes hidden in a suitcase," a GRP official said.
Geckos are an endangered species, and trading or killing them is a punishable crime under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.
There has been a spate in illegal trade of the lizard species in the northeastern states, forcing police to be extra vigilant to stop the trade.
Assam Police has in the past recovered several of the species from various areas while they were being smuggled out of the state.
The endangered lizards are said to be in great demand in China, Malaysia, Indonesia and Japan where some communities believe the geckos can heal diseases like cancer and HIV. Wildlife experts, however, say there is no truth in that belief.