Six gecko lizards missing from Assam zoo

Six gecko lizards missing from Assam zoo

2Guwahati, Nov 16 (IANS) Six endangered gecko lizards have gone missing from their cage at the Assam State Zoo here, officials said Sunday.

Authorities at the zoo in Japorigog area admitted the development Sunday, but said they were yet to ascertain what happened with the endangered species.

“The geckos were housed in a cage made of net in the reptile house of the zoo. However, around 1 p.m. today (Sunday), the keeper discovered that six of them have gone missing,” an official said.

“Some portions of the net of the cage were found damaged,” he said.

The Assam forest department has ordered a probe into the incident.

There were 24 gecko lizards in the reptile house.

Geckos are an endangered species, and under the Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972, trading or killing them is a punishable crime.

There has been a spate in illegal trade of the lizard species in the northeastern states, forcing police to be extra vigilant to stop the trade.

Assam Police has in the past recovered several of the species from various areas while they were being smuggled out of the state.

The endangered lizards are said to be in great demand in China, Malaysia, Indonesia and Japan where some communities believe the geckos can heal deadly diseases like cancer and HIV.

Wildlife experts, however, say there is no truth in that belief.

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