An alarming trend in the trade of the tokay gecko (gekko gecko) has emerged in international illegal trade circuits, as indicated by the recent seizures made by security agency officials. The tokay gecko, an endangered species is in high demand as pets, and for its body parts to be used in traditional/alternative medicines as an anti-cancer and anti-asthma medication and as an aphrodisiac. An average gecko of 11-12 inches, weighing more than 300gms can be sold in the animal trade black markets for as much as 80 lakh rupees. According to security agency officials, the smugglers and operatives are working in a conglomerate operation instead of acting as lone smugglers. Bhutan, Nepal, Bangladesh, and India, with their high gecko population, form the root suppliers for these smuggling conglomerates, with Siliguri in eastern India as a common hub of the operation. The smugglers often inject mercury in the gecko’s intestines to increase weight for their buyers, even though this leads to the gecko’s death in a week after the sale.
As reported by the Economic Times, Jan 15, 2018