On January 9, 2002 the Phoenix Fund, Far Eastern Operative Customs (FEOC) and Inspection Tiger checked out “Fauna” pet-shop in Vladivostok. The reason for that was information received in December 2001 by Special Department of Eliminating Especially Dangerous Smuggling (SDEEDS) of FEOC that a party of geckos had been illegally imported in Vladivostok and sent to one of the city pet-shops for sale.
In order to check the information a joint raid was organized. The pet-shop director said that last December a man brought 10 geckos for sale. Lizards were transported through the customs checkpoints in cigarette boxes. The price for one gecko was set at one thousand rubles.
The shop director knew nothing about the state documents regulating rules of flora and fauna trade and that it was necessary to have a license to sell those exotic lizards. The Customs officer drew up an administrative report. During that raid a specialist from the Institute of Biology and Soils determined that it was Plate-tailed gecko (Teratoscincus scincus) from Kazakhstan.
The Customs and Inspection Tiger officers will continue regular raids in the pet-shops of Vladivostok. Most probably, next time a shop director will think before taking unknown or endangered animals for sale and that will lead to a reduction of the demand for rare and exotic animals.