MANGALDAI, Jan 7 - Jawans of 37 Battalion of the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) on Monday rescued a tokay gecko, a rare and endangered species of reptile, known as keko saap in local parlance, and nabbed a person from Pathar Nala Chowk near Khaira Grant in Baska district.
The tokay gecko has a great demand in the international smuggling market. The nabbed person was carrying it in a vehicle when, acting on a tip-off, the jawans intercepted the Mahindra Bolero vehicle (AS 01 U 2977) and rescued the animal from his possession.
The smuggler was identified as Deben Chetri, son of Ganesh Bahadur Chetri of Pandey Basti, Bholajhar under Goreswar Police Station in Baska district. The SSB jawans also seized the vehicle used by the arrested smuggler.
Chetri confessed to the SSB jawans that he was planning to sell it to an international racket of smugglers at the price of around Rs 18 lakh. The SSB jawans later handed over the arrested smuggler and the recovered reptile to the Forest office at Rajagarh, Udalguri along the Indo-Bhutan border.
Wildlife activists in Udalguri and Mangaldai have appreciated the action of the SSB troops in arresting the smuggler and recovering the endangered reptile.