Rare geckos for sale
Image copyright PA Image caption A haul of 165 critically endangered electric blue geckos were seized at Heathrow Airport in March
Rare geckos seized at Heathrow Airport after being smuggled into the country, have been re-homed by Bristol Zoo.
Some 165 critically endangered electric blue geckos - which are only found in two places in Tanzania - were confiscated by officers in March.
Bristol Zoo offered to take some of the geckos. Others are being re-housed across the UK.
The tiny gecko is protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.Image copyright PA Image caption The haul of the 7cm (2in) long lizards was discovered in a consignment of chameleons, scorpions and frogs
The haul of 7cm (2in) long lizards was discovered in a consignment of chameleons, scorpions and frogs imported from Tanzania.
Electric blue gecko
- Electric blue geckos are classified as 'Critically Endangered' on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List
- The geckos are only found in 8 km² (3 sq miles) of the Kimboza Forest in eastern Tanzania
- At least 15% of the population in Kimboza Forest was collected for the international pet trade between 2004 and 2009
Bristol Zoo has now taken in seven of the 5g (0.17oz) reptiles.
The remaining geckos are due to be re-homed at institutions across the country.
Tim Skelton, the zoo's curator of reptiles and amphibians, said the geckos had all been given a "clean bill of health following their long journey".
"The striking blue colour of the males is what makes them so appealing as pets, " he said.
"However, illegally capturing them from the wild for sale into the pet trade does huge damage to the population numbers for the species."
With the species in "real danger of becoming extinct", Mr Skelton is hoping to set up a new breeding programme to monitor and safeguard the captive population in the UK.Image copyright PA Image caption The geckos are popular as pets because of their striking colouration