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Sushanta Roy is a journalist in the north eastern states of Assam and Meghalaya, India, who photographs and writes about the people, animals and flora, and the things that affect them.

Diphu July 21: Forest department officials released thirteen rescued Gecko lizards in the wilderness of Nambor reserved forest according to courts directives and decided to preserve twelve kilograms of pangolin scales which was seized from smugglers on July 18 by Wildlife Crime Control Bureau of Assam, Forest Department and Assam police at CCI gate of Bokajan town, Karbi Anglong district.

It may be mentioned here that Wildlife Crime Control Bureau of Assam, Forest Department and Assam police seized the Gecko lizards alive along with pangolin scales from two persons and arrested two smugglers while they were about to ship the wild creatures from Nagaland through Bokajan subdivision of Assam.

In the drive of the enforcement agencies one Indian Reserve Battalion constable and another person was arrested by police for their association in the offense.

It may be mentioned here that Gecko lizards belong to the infraorder Gekkota species and are found in tropical and subtropical climates of the world and are sought after chiefly due to credulous belief.

It is believed that if one consumes this lizard, they would become young and beautiful. It is also believed that this creature can grow bigger if a person regularly eats the lizard.

Saving Gecko Lizards

A fact sheet by Indian Wildlife Society (IWS) says, “Gecko trade is rampant in Delhi-NCR region and members of many different communities are involved in its trade.” IWS has been trying to create awareness among the youth, so that this issue can be resolved.

A group of students from Birla Institute of Technology and Science Pilani-Goa Campus had carried out a study on “Gecko trade: Status, Deterrents and Way Forward.” The study concluded that “Pangolin scales are used in traditional Chinese medicine as an anti-inflammatory, anti-tumour and an analgesic and are widely traded in the international market.”

In India pangolins are protected under Schedule II of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. It is illegal to hunt or trade in them. However, their scales can be used for commercial purposes if permission is taken from the ministry of environment and forests. The only species that can be traded is Indian pangolin which is found in India, Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh.

The IWS study states that “The prime reason for the trade in geckos (especially among rural communities) is their demand as a delicacy especially during traditional festivals.”

gecko lizards
Gecko lizards