NO REPTILE has become more hunted than the Tokay gecko since Bujang Senang the crocodile. A large number of Malaysians, Japanese and Chinese buy these animals because it is believed to cure cancer and asthma, among other diseases.
Because of this, the price of geckos has shot up. Small geckos start at about RM1,000 each. This new craze has not only afflicted Malaysians who are scrambling to look for it in shrubs, rooftops and crevices.However, many are moving into dangerous territories in search for the Tokay.
Recently, Malaysian Mohammad Nasaruddin Bensaidin who went to Southern Philippines to broker a gecko deal was kidnapped by 10 gunmen.
The Tokay, also known as Tuko or Tekek is fetching a high price in South-East Asia. Bigger geckos are said to fetch thousands or even hundreds of thousands of ringgit. The current market price in Malaysia for a Tokay above 300gm is said to be at least RM25,000. Many gecko dealers are claiming that they have World Health Organisation (WHO) authorisation letters to buy geckos as WHO was carrying out research into the medicinal properties of the reptile.
However, when contacted, WHO chief technical officer Dr Harpal Singh said it was not true. “WHO is not involved in these claims. Neither is WHO interested in research using these geckos,” he said via email. In light of its high market value, catching and trading of Tokays have become a lucrative side business especially for villagers who have set up mini-farms.
In Kuala Lumpur, residents are known to have converted their rooms to breed geckos. Since geckos usually feed on insects such as crickets, cockroaches and grasshoppers, it takes a long time to gain the marketable weight. Some unscrupulous breeders are feeding the geckos chicken liver and baby frogs to fatten them up. And as the supply gets scarce in Malaysia, dealers have started to head towards Thailand and the Philippines to source for supplies.
Federal Territories Wildlife and National Park Department director Mohamad Hafid Rohani said under the new Wildlife Conservation Act 2010, which was passed in January this year, the keeping, rearing and trading of geckos must be licensed. “They have been given a six-month moratorium which expired last month and now we will take action if they are found without licence,” he said.
** inilah cicak tokek. name orang putih memang macam stylo sikit.. hehe. mendapat nama dari bunyi die, to-keek, to-keek.. camtu la lebih kurang, tak reti aku nak mengajuk bunyi die.
**sekarang da senyap sikit tapi dulu heboh jugak orang asyik mencari cicak ni. kononnya boleh digunakan untuk mengubati AIDS. hoho.. sekilo boleh sampai sejuta. gila. haha.. yang bekerja sanggup cuti masuk hutan mencari cicak ni. ikutlah masing-masing nak percaya apa.
**btw, orang tua-tua cakap, hati-hati digigit cicak ni, sebab air liur dia ada bakteria. serupa dengan biawak. kalau digigit, terkenalah jangkitan kuman. mana tau kena potong bahagian tu ke nanti. berbaloi duit banyak tapi kudung?