A Tokay gecko comes visiting a house in Samtse
The protected lizard species, Tokay gecko, has been in the media glare recently as poachers and locals try to hunt and trade in the rare lizard. But for one resident in Samtse, the rare and exotic lizard made itself at home in his house.
According to the resident, a few days ago, his wife was attending to the household chores when she suddenly shrieked and panicked. “She let out a big sound of fright, terrorized by some strange creature in the apartment,” said the resident, a civil servants, who didn’t wanted to be named.
He said his wife was terrified and could not utter a word. Suspecting of having a snake or other dangerous creatures in the house, he cautiously moved the furniture. And that is when he spotted a lizard. Upon a closer look, he found that the lizard wasn’t the common house lizard nor the kind found commonly in the backyard. “I wasn’t as scared as my wife, but I was startled to see a Tokay gecko in my house,” the resident told The Bhutanese over the telephone.
In regards to its feeding habit, the lizard is termed insectivorous but also feeds on common house lizards. Hence, the particular Tokay gecko may have trespassed into the residential house, hunting for lizards.
However, the resident in Samtse said that he got rid of the gecko instantly. “All I wanted was to get rid of it,” he said adding, “Moreover, I dread the laws and would never imagine breaking the laws.” He carefully picked up the lizard and released it safely in the bushes nearby his house.
In response to the reports of the increasing illegal trade in Tokay gecko, the Wildlife Conservation Division under the Department of Forest and Park Services, Ministry of Agriculture and Forests, in September 17, 2013, revised the fine of the Tokay gecko hunting from Nu 50,000 to Nu 100,000.
The illegal hunt and trade in the lizard is attributed to the unfounded claims that it is a potential cure for Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), a claim that has not been medically or scientifically proven and is likely to be another myth.
Tokay gecko is a nocturnal Asian lizard. It is considered a giant among the geckos as a fully grown Tokay gecko is recorded to measure 40 cm in length and is easily identified by its orange-spotted, blue-grey skin. Tokay gecko can also be found in northeastern part of India.
In Bhutan, informal reports indicate its presence in the southern part of the country particularly in Samdrup Jongkhar, Samtse, Phuentsholing and other areas along the Bhutan-India border.