Claims that a nocturnal Asian lizard can be used to help treat the HIV virus have led to a sharp boom in smuggling of the reptile, putting it at risk, a conservation group said Tuesday.
Demand for the Tokay Gecko has skyrocketed in recent years after online blogs, newspaper articles and wildlife traders extolled the consumption of the lizard's tongue and internal organs as a miracle cure for HIV, TRAFFIC Southeast Asia said in a report.
TRAFFIC said such claims were unfounded and "indicative of an elaborate hoax." The Philippines' government in July also warned that using geckos to treat AIDS and impotence may put patients at risk.
"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 Chris R.Shepherd, TRAFFIC's regional deputy director.
Complete article at ABC : http://abcn.ws/spjFqq