By Kevin Heath
Border Force officers have intercepted an attempt to import 165 critically endangered turquoise dwarf geckos from Tanzania. The geckos was found last month within a larger consignment containing other species such as chameleons, scorpions and frogs.
Turquoise dwarf geckos are critically endangered and are protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). They are currently only found in two locations in Tanzania.
After the seizure the case was passed to the National Crime Agency’s Border Policing Command. After investigations they arrested a man in Swindon on Friday 20th March. The 41-year-old is currently on police bail as investigations continue.
Grant Miller, head of the Border Force CITES team, said, “This was a highly significant seizure. This particular species of gecko is incredibly rare and there are strict laws against its capture in Tanzania.
“The movement of endangered species is part of an illicit and often cruel trade that Border Force, together with other agencies, is rigorously determined to stop.”
Other species that were found in the shipment and are not endangered included:
The Heathrow-based Border Force CITES team are specialist officers who work closely with the National Wildlife Crime Unit (NWCU), NCA and police to provide expert advice on border operational issues. They are recognised as world leaders in their field.
Anyone with information about activity they suspect may be linked to smuggling should call our hotline on 0800 59 5000.