In a significant development, troops of 12 Assam Rifles seized two tokay geckos at Permanent Vehicle Check Post (PVCP) in Khudengthabi, about 100 km south of Imphal on Imphal-Moreh National Highway (NH 102) of Manipur on Saturday.
Acting on specific information, the troops intercepted a Pulsar Bike (KA 03 HP 0970). During the search operation two tokay geckos were found in a cloth tied around the waist of one Seitinthang Haokip (25) of Moreh. The two tokay geckos are around 14-inch long.
Later, the apprehended person along with seized items was handed over to Forest Department Tengnoupal.
Tokay geckos, a highly endangered lizard, listed in the schedule III of Indian Wildlife Protection Act 1972, are being illegally caught and trafficked from Northeastern Indian states to Southeast Asian countries where there is belief that the lizard can cure many diseases.
Two years back, seizing and recovery of tokay gecko by the security forces along the Imphal-Moreh highway became routine news in the local dailies in the state. At the same time the forest officials and wild life and animal lovers also rescued a number of million rupee insectivorous terrestrial lizard from the hands of the smugglers and poachers from various parts of the state.
At that point of time, the wildlife analysts claimed a smuggler can easily fetch a huge amount of money from a matured tokay gecko weighing 200 grams and measuring 14 inch.
Meanwhile two Kingfishers (Alcedo atthis), an endangered species in Manipur were rescued by the staff of Kakching Range Office of the state forest department with the assistance from one M Open Singh, Honorary Wild life warden, Thoubal on Saturday.