Thai authorities warn of jail time for catching or selling protected geckos

A Tokay gecko. Credit Mikeac1 | wildkratts.fandom.com

Rumours in Thailand saying geckos can sell for up to 1 million baht, depending on their size, might actually be true. Many Thai people have caught and sold geckos as a full-time job. But now the nation’s gecko hunters and sellers have to be more cautious since the authorities issued a warning, saying some geckos are on the wildlife preservation and protection list. Those who are caught catching or selling them could face jail time.

On April 24, 2 Thai women were arrested with possession of 320 geckos at the pier in the Khemmarat district of the Isaan province of Ubon Ratchathani. They were charged for smuggling the carcasses of preserved animals without permission and violating the Customs Act by exporting restricted items abroad without permission.

Thai people were curious about why they had been arrested because they were ‘just geckos’. However, an officer from the Khemmarat Customs Checkpoint told Thai media that locals might not know the relevant laws protecting various wildlife.

The authority said that attacking, catching or even petting geckos without permission were violations of the Wildlife Conservation and Protection Act, which includes 19 species of geckos in its preserved list of protected wildlife. Residents who violate the act could face a jail term of up to 4 years or a fine of 40,000 baht, or both.

The geckos are considered restricted items that require permission from the Customs Department to export to other countries. Those geckos also needed to get disease tests from the authorities at the Department of Livestock Development before being exported to prevent the spread of animal disease abroad. So the customs officer in Khemmarat said the 2 women who’ve been arrested may also be in violation of the Customs Act and the Disease Control Act launched by the Department of Livestock Development, if they are found to have exported or imported geckos without permission.

SOURCE: Channel 3

Northern Thailand News

Petch Petpailin

Petpailin, or Petch, is a Thai translator and writer for The Thaiger focusing on Thai news and what's happening in Thailand. She is a news writer who stops reading news on the weekends to spend more time cafe hopping and petting dwarf shrimp.