The Tokay Gecko has been claimed by uninformed people, even hucksters, as a cure for anything from HIV, diabetes, and cancer to asthma and skin problems. In, Asia traditional culture holds the consumption of animals parts to be beneficial for a variety of illnesses, but there is no proof, and the myth causes an enormous number of innocent animals to be captured and consumed.
“TRAFFIC is alarmed at the massive increase in trade of these geckos. If the trade continues to mushroom, it could take years to repair the damage currently being inflicted on gecko populations,” said an official from the non-profit organization monitoring illegal trade in wildlife. (Source: Washington Post)
Reportedly the lie that consuming Tokay Geckos can cure HIV has been making the rounds on blogs, news articles, advertisements and comes also from some wildlife dealers.
People spreading the misinformation are merely profiting by deceiving a naive, consuming public. Can you imagine telling someone sick with HIV to buy a lizard from you as a cure? Any truly sick person who consumed a lizard, rather than getting competent medical treatment could become gravely ill, or even die. It must be well known in most parts of the world eating a lizard is not a cure for any real illness.
Perhaps the individuals responsible for spreading the myth should be punished for animal cruelty, as their actions are resulting in the deaths of animals for no good reason.
Trade in the nocturnal geckos was banned in the Philippines due to rampant sales.
Image Credit: Nick Hobgood/ WikiCommons