Unfounded claims of a potential cure for Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is one factor behind a boom in the trade of Tokay Geckos, according to a new report launched today by TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network.
The animals are popular in the global pet trade and have long been traded—both legally and illegally—for use in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) in the belief they can cure various maladies including diabetes, asthma, skin disease and cancer. In parts of Asia, Tokay wine or whisky is consumed to increase strength and energy.
Recently, however, 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.
“If the trade continues to mushroom, it could take years to repair the damage currently being inflicted on gecko populations.”
Credit: @Blue_Wode via Twitter
TCM frequently relies on animal parts and derivatives in their remedies. The rhinos are practically extinct, tigers are endangered, lions and other animal populations are being devastated by poachers. Now geckos. This is such a waste. If the actual substance works, and there is a decent chance that it does NOT, then a synthetic version can be manufactures and work better. Meanwhile, we have destruction of species.
A short info film made by TRAFFIC: