Activists urge protection of hunted gecko species

November 16, 2011
This undated handout photo received on November 16 shows an orange-spotted Tokay Gecko, in Malaysia. Wildlife activists on Wednesday called for the orange-spotted Tokay Gecko to be protected under international laws following a spike in smuggling of the lizard, mainly for medicine in China.

Wildlife activists on Wednesday called for the orange-spotted Tokay Gecko to be protected under international laws following a spike in smuggling of the lizard, mainly for medicine in China.

International wildlife trade monitoring said in a statement that the trade, both legal and illegal, in the gecko known for its blue-grey skin and loud croak was on the rise across .

It called for the nocturnal animal to be protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of and Flora (CITES) as a "stitch in time" for the Asian gecko.

"TRAFFIC is alarmed at the massive increase in trade of these ," said Chris Shepherd, deputy director of TRAFFIC Southeast Asia.

"If the trade continues to mushroom, it could take years to repair the damage currently being inflicted on gecko populations," he added.

The animals are captured across Southeast Asia, especially the Philippines as well as Indonesia, according to a new report launched by TRAFFIC, which points out their "rapacious collection."

They are usually killed and dried, and shipped to China for use in billed to cure various diseases, including HIV and cancer. Tokay wine or whiskey is also sold as an energy booster.

"Recently... the medicinal demand for Tokay Geckos has skyrocketed, with dozens of new websites in Malaysia, a major hub of the trade, dedicated to buying and selling Tokay Geckos," the statement said.

TRAFFIC said it would investigate this trade. The TRAFFIC report also said claims of the gecko's potential as a cure "may be indicative of an elaborate hoax."

The Tokay Geckos, which can grow up to 40 centimetres (15.7 inches), are also popular pets.

Malaysia has pledged to fight wildlife smuggling, which activists say is rampant in the Southeast Asian nation due to regional demand for exotic dishes, pets, or traditional medicines derived from animals.

Explore further: Philippines warns against geckos as AIDS treatment

Related Stories

Expo shows illegal pet trade rampant in Indonesia

July 30, 2010

(AP) -- The most threatened tortoise in the world is being sold openly at a plant and animal exposition in the heart of Indonesia's capital, highlighting concerns about the rampant - and growing - illegal pet trade.

Conservationists sound alarm over macaque

July 15, 2011

The long-tailed macaque is being threatened with extinction by a huge surge in international trade and the destruction of its habitat in Southeast Asia, conservationists said on Friday.

Hong Kong seizes nearly 800 smuggled elephant tusks

August 31, 2011

Hong Kong has seized nearly two tonnes of elephant ivory worth about $1.7 million hidden in a shipment from Malaysia and detained a local man over the haul, customs authorities said Wednesday.

Porous China-Myanmar border allowing illegal wildlife trade

March 16, 2010

Porous borders are allowing vendors in Myanmar to offer a door-to-door delivery service for illegal wildlife products such as tiger bone wine to buyers in China, according to TRAFFIC's latest snapshot into wildlife trade ...

Malaysia seizes nearly 700 elephant tusks

September 6, 2011

Malaysian authorities have seized nearly 700 elephant tusks bound for China, an official said, the latest in a series of hauls indicating Malaysia had become a key ivory transit hub.

Recommended for you

Mating induces sexual inhibition in female jumping spiders

October 18, 2017

After mating for the first time, most females of an Australian jumping spider are unreceptive to courtship by other males, and this sexual inhibition is immediate and often lasts for the rest of their lives, according to ...

Understanding the coevolving web of life as a network

October 18, 2017

Coevolution, which occurs when species interact and adapt to each other, is often studied in the context of pair-wise interactions between mutually beneficial symbiotic partners. But many species have mutualistic interactions ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.