The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Wildlife Department foiled a bid to smuggle Leopard Gecko Lizards to China in June 2022. “We have arrested two smugglers after recovering as many as 15 Gecko Leopard Lizards from a car on Karakoram Highway,” Divisional Wildlife Officer Taimur Shah said. He said that a team of the Wildlife Department intercepted the car near Khatain-da-Galla and arrested Amjad Hussain Shah and Assad Mahmood, the residents of Abbottabad and Haripur, respectively.

Both the arrested persons confessed to have been involved in the smuggling of such exotics and indigenous species internationally. The accused were arrested under the Wildlife and Biodiversity Act 2015 and would further be penalised accordingly.

The Gecko Leopard Lizard is a native to rocky dry grasslands and deserts regions of Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, India and Nepal. This indigenous species is illegally used in the medicines of cancer and HIV/AIDS and such other diseases and found in Havalian, Haripur, Darband, and Torghar areas in the Hazara division.

China was one of the biggest international markets for the Gecko Leopard Lizard and its price per gram was up to $ 1000. “The monetary value of the seized consignment is estimated to be up to Rs 300 million in the international market.

Gecko Leopard Lizard has become a popular pet and because of its extensive captive-breeding it was sometimes considered as the first domesticated species among the lizard family.

In another incident in August 2022, the KP Wildlife Department officials arrested a man and seized reptiles from him.

The staff of the Patrol Post Dalilpur foiled an attempt to smuggle a rare lizard and arrested the smuggler. The seized lizard was later handed over to the wildlife department.

Assistant Sub-Inspector of Patrol Post Dalilpur, Zulfiqar Hussain, along with his staff, stopped a suspicious car while patrolling the road. The travelers, upon enquiry, mentioned their names and addresses as Taj Wali, resident of Karachi and Shafiullah Syed Jalal, a resident of Peshawar.

Upon carrying out a physical search of the car, one rare lizard was found in a box which was taken into custody, said the police, adding that the lizard is estimated to be worth Rs 500,000. Subsequently, the officials of the Wildlife Department were called to the spot who also confirmed the illegality of the lizard.

The suspects were handed over to the wildlife department for further action. They were fined Rs 53,000 and the rare lizard was also confiscated.