The Northeast India is known for awesome natural bounty and amazing wildlife. While many have heard about endangered one horned Rhino and wildcat species found in these states, not many are aware about the rare reptile species. The truth is, in forest and hills of Northeast India, a number of rare and endangered reptiles are found. Some of these are facing threat of extinction owing to trafficking and rampant killing by humans. One of these is the Tokay Gecko Lizard.
Nuances of Tokay Gecko Lizard
This is one Asian lizard species that is nocturnal in nature. It is characterized by a unique blue-grey skin with orange spots. However, it has ability to alter skin color for camouflaging needs. Its call is aloes distinctive. In Assam, it is called Keko xaap. It is found mostly in rainforest regions in Northeastern states and also in rural human habitations.
Tokay Gecko can be up to 35 centimeters lengthwise. It feeds on small vertebrates and insects mostly. The body is well built and they climb vertical surfaces quite well.
Extinction threat faced by the lizard
In recent years, the Tokay gecko is facing threat of extinction like never before. In states like Manipur and Nagaland, these lizards are being captured randomly and sold for reported medicinal properties. In Asian subcontinent, its body parts are sold at high rates owing to belief that its usage can heal killer diseases like cancer and AIDS. Some tribes also believe it can be used to cure diabetes. However, no feasible and scientific evidence exists that can corroborate such beliefs. In Tezpur of Assam and several other cities, illegal rackets of lizard trading have mushroomed in recent years.
While raids by police and forest authorities have resulted in confiscation of large bunches of Geckos, more preventive measures should be taken up by the state governments. The Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 specifies trade of these lizards is illegal and killing them is not permitted either. However, more stringent laws need to be introduced and deployed to stop mass killing and trading of these lizards. Public awareness needs to be spread about rumors and myths regarding the medicinal properties of Tokay Gecko.