Assam Police arrest five for smuggling of rare lizard

Guwahati, Aug.15 (ANI): Police in Assam have arrested five out of six persons for smuggling the rare Tokay Gecko lizard, thought to cure cancer.

The smugglers include the former chief of a now disbanded Militant Organisation Dima Halim Daoga, Dilip Nunisa.

The six persons were going to sell the rare lizards when they were stopped at a check post.

"The police stopped the smugglers travelling in a red Bolero car around 3.30 pm. When the car was checked a red bag was discovered which was carrying a lizard named Tokay Gecko.

There were six persons in the car and one out of them, Remo from Mizoram, has run away and we have brought the rest to the police station," said Inspector General of Police L R Bishnoi.

A number of mobile phones, wallets and debit cards were also recovered from the smugglers.

The police are suspecting involvement of inter-state gangs as the caught persons are from different northeastern states.

As per officials, the smuggling or hunting of Tokay Gecko is banned by the wildlife protection authorities.

Bishnoi said that the reason for the lizard's smuggling is the belief that its medicine helps in curing deadly diseases like cancer and AIDS.

"As per the investigation, value of the lizard in the domestic market is around 40,000 to 50,000 rupees whereas in the international market the prices rise upto 400,000 rupees to 500,000. People believe that the medicine made out of the lizard helps in curing cancer patients and AIDS patients," said Bishnoi.

The lizard is found in Bihar and West Bengal in India and adjoining countries like Bhutan, Bangladesh and South China.

Tokay Gecko is a nocturnal reptile and preys at night, mainly on insects. It was declared threatened species by the Wildlife Protection Act 1962 and if the smuggling of the lizard continues, it is bound to become endangered soon. (ANI)