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Market figures out that geckos don’t cure AIDS, but killing continues

Millions of tokay geckos continue to be traded for traditional medicine, despite waning belief that the colorful lizards are a cure for AIDS, reports a new study from TRAFFIC.

The study found that a spike in tokay gecko demand due to rumors that it could cure HIV/AIDS was relatively short-lived, lasting from 2009 and early 2011. Nonetheless geckos are still traded in large numbers, with over-collection impacting wild populations across much of the reptile’s range, especially in Thailand and Java.

The study notes that Taiwan has declared imports of at least 15 million geckos since 2004. Major consuming nations also include mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Viet Nam.

Users believe dried geckos can help treat asthma, diabetes and skin disorders.

CITATION: Olivier S. Caillabet (2013). The Trade in Tokay Geckos Gekko gecko in South-East Asia: with a case study on Novel Medicinal Claims in Peninsular Malaysia TRAFFIC, Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia ISBN 978-983-3393-36-7

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