DENR warns against gecko-iguana scam
(SPOT.ph) A syndicate is allegedly passing iguanas as geckos or tukos in a new type of scam, reports ABS-CBN News. Tukos are currently in demand because of their supposed medicinal effects like treating AIDS or preventing dengue fever. One gecko can sell for as much as P500,000.
According to the ABS-CBN report, a member of the syndicate will buy tukos from another member posing as a dealer in an attempt to lure potential customers. Once the transaction is made, the syndicate will deliver iguanas instead of geckos, warned Josefina de Leon of the Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). Either way, however, De Leon is worried about the recent interest in hunting down tukos. "The capture is alarming not only because of the demand but the mortalities occurring form the capture of the animals," she said.
Geckos have been drawing interest because of a traditional belief that they are an aphrodisiac and a cure-all (for tuberculosis, impotence, asthma, cancer, etc), reports GMA News. However, Environment Sec. Ramon Paje, however, said there is no scientific basis for such claims. Sen. Manny Villar is also concerned that the demand for the mosquito-eating reptile might weaken the government’s drive to control dengue. "Recent reports stating that the rise in the sales of (tuko) in the international wildlife market coincide with the rise in the number of dengue patients now being monitored by the Department of Health (DOH)," he said.
Click on the photo to watch ABS-CBN News’ report on a gecko dealer scammed by syndicates.