The North East has emerged as a major hub for trafficking of Gecko lizard during the last one year which came to light following the arrest of several persons, including a former militant leader, recently.
Rhinos, tigers and elephants have been the usual target of wildlife traffickers but during the last few months, the arrest of more than ten persons, including Dima Halam Daoga Chief Dilip Nunisa in Assam has brought to fore an international network of traffickers of the gecko lizard.
Nunisa was arrested along with two others with the reptile in their possession a couple of months ago following which more than ten persons were arrested, a senior police official said.
Nunisa's interrogation brought to light the value of the lizard in the international market with each animal being traded for an amount ranging from Rs 25 lakh to nearly a crore, the official said.
Another arrested person in Karbi Anglong district told the police that local tribals are usually involved in trapping and catching the gecko and they usually manage to catch the younger ones.
Many catchers usually keep them at home for few months and then sell them when they are fully grown up.
The middlemen who buy the Geckos from the catchers take the reptiles to the border town of Moreh in Manipur from where another chain of traffickers smuggle them to Myanmar for an international destination.