Manipur,IMPHAL, July 29: A rare reptile species called Tokay Gecko, rescued by Manipur police from a gang of poachers in Thoubal district on last July 25 was released at the Keibul Lamjao National Park in Bishnupur district Manipur Sunday.
On July 25 last, a team of Thoubal district police have intercepted the Tokay Gecko (locally known as Numit Yungbi) carrying concealing in a bag by five persons travelling in a maruti van. According to the disclosure made by the arrested five persons, H Deben (40), Ng Shitaljit (34), L Noren (24), S Basanta (42) and B Sunil Sharma (38), police have come to know that the rare reptile species was collected by them on smuggling to Malaysia.
From their disclosure, police further come to know that they were told to collect the rare reptile species from Yairipok village in Thoubal district by one Sunil Singh from Imphal for onward smuggle to Malaysia through Myanmar.
And according to the police, a smuggler of this rare reptile can easily make up to Rs 20 lakh for a Tokay Gekco weighing above 250 grams and measuring above 14 inches including the tail. With the value for the reptile`s soaring, poachers who targeted other animals have switched focus to Tokays and have been searching for them in the hills and its adjoining areas of the state.
The Tokay Gecko which was in the custody of the Thoubal police since the arrest of the five smuggler was released today at the Keibul Lamjao National Park, the home of state animal Sangai deer, following an order of the Thoubal Chief Judicial Magistrate after conducting a hearing to a petition filed by Thoubal unit of People for Animal (PFA).
In the petition, the PFA prayed the court to allow the Tokay Gecko release at a suitable place which the rare reptile species can survive.
According to wildlife analysts, though it was rare, Tokay Gecko is available in Jiribam and its adjoining areas and in the forest of hill districts of the state.
The release of the Tokay Gecko was amidst a manhunt operation being launched by the state police to nab the top ring leaders of a gang of poachers involved in smuggling Tokay Gecko from Manipur to Malaysia.
These reptiles have medicinal value as believe by in Malaysia and some other Asian countries where there is a high demand of these species. However, Dr Kh Samugou Singh, a wildlife analyst said there was no scientific proof that these species has medicinal value.