PATNA: A bid to smuggle out one Asian 'Tokay Gecko', a threatened species of lizard, was foiled by a team of Patna forest official early on Thursday morning with the arrest of two wildlife traffickers from a hotel.
A deal for the trafficking of this reptile to smuggle it out of the county was finalized at Rs 25 lakhs by the arrested wildlife traffickers.
The 'Tokay Gecko' is a nocturnal Asian lizard with lenght up to 30 cm and weighing about 200 grams. Sharing this recovery through twitter handle, Principal Secretary of department of environment forest and climate change, Dipak Kumar Singh on Thursday said that one Tokay Gecko was to be sold for Rs 25 lakhs.
Ruchi Singh, Patna district forest official (DFO), who raided the room numbers 202 and 203 of hotel orbit with the cooperation of WWF Traffic India, said that two wildlife traffickers were arrested with one tokay Gecko lizard from the rooms.
"The arrested wildlife traffickers are residents of Bihar's Katihar district," she said, adding that the seized reptile is sold at an exorbitant price making this illegal trade more lucrative.
On being asked why this species of reptile is trafficked out, she said: "There is a misconception that it has medicinal properties that can cure cancer. Some use it as pet also because of the sound it makes."
It is collected mostly from forest areas of West Bengal and Northeast states. A myth is also associated that the Tokay Gecko carries a supernatural powers and it brings good luck and fertility in the homes when domesticated.
The tokay Gecko is also supposed to have descended from the family group of dragons and that's why it is an ingredient in traditional Chinese medicine known as "Ge Jie".
It also fetches high prices in the international market of wildlife animals between Rs 25 to 80 lakhs, depending upon it size and maturity.
In the past few years, Tokay Gecko in huge numbers were seized in West Bengal, Guwahati and other states of Northeast wherein some sections of people collect it from forest areas and sell to the traffickers at handsome prices.
Its biological parts are also believed to be used in making medicines for curing cancer and lung infection and is more sought after in China, Honkong, Taiwan, Vietnam and Singapore.
The Patna DFO said that further investigation is being carried out to delve in details on the network of such wildlife traffickers.
Dipak Kumar Singh congratulated the team of forest and police officials, who raided the hotel at Rajendranagar area in Patna under DFO Ruchi Singh.