Large gecko wanted. (photo:-Sanook)

A man has stirred up excitement on social media with the announcement that he would pay at least THB3 million to anyone who can provide him with a very large gecko.

Geckos, known as tukkae in Thai, come in various sizes and are commonly found roaming free in Thai houses, especially in the countryside. But, to earn the big reward, Sorasingha Nikoson has specifically asked for a gecko that is at least 17.5 inches long  — that’s a hell of a gecko.

And, the larger your lizard, the more you earn. Sorasingha is willing to pay up to THB5 million for an outrageously large reptile.

The Facebook user, who resides in Hat Yai, said that he is connected to a Malaysian investor, who is looking to buy tukkae for a lot of money in order to extract a mysterious “cancer cure” from their tails.

He also shared an instructional video of how to correctly measure a tukkae. The caption said: “This is how to properly measure it [a gecko]. It’s a video from a Malaysian investor who will only buy geckos of the specified size. If your geckos do not reach the length desired, don’t call and ask me if I want it so we both won’t waste time. And don’t ask nonsense questions.”

So if your gecko is small, go away.

Salamandra, a German Journal of Herpetology, stated in their research that there is a belief in Southeast Asia that geckos are believed to contain elements that can treat not only cancer but AIDS, asthma, and tuberculosis. While the use of geckos for medicinal purposes could date back to the 10th century, there is no scientific evidence that geckos can cure illnesses, according to a statement by the World Health Organization.

Many people may suspect that the story is a hoax ,some Thai villagers do indeed rear and sell large lizards for their tails, which are believed to have medicinal properties to treat serious ailments.

Sunthorn Chaiwattana, an expert at the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation, said the department never had a report of such a large gecko.

“The longest ones found are only 13 to 14 inches long. There might be 17 or 18inch ones but we have never seen them and there is no information in the system to support their existence,” he said, adding that the expensive price tag might also be true as it was a matter purely based on choice by both parties in the trade.

Sunthorn, however, said that while many people in the Northeast ran “gecko farms”, any exports had to be notified to the authorities due to the species’ status allowing it to be traded only if a proper permit is obtained in the originating country.

Geckos can bring in healthy profits for breeders, with demand high in China, Singapore and Malaysia.

Villagers in Ban Rai Srisuthat in Maha Sarakham’s Wapi Pathum are encouraged to rear and sell geckos for profit, while residents of Ban Nai Tan in Nakhon Phanom’s Na Wa district have carried out captive breeding of geckos for export to China and Taiwan for nearly 20 years, generating at least Bt20 million a year.

In Ban Sob Fa Moo 7 and Ban Hong Lee Moo 5 in Lampang’s Chae Hom district, geckos are reared in large cages or containers as a sideline to traditional crop farming. Fed with crickets and special food, geckos can weigh over 500 grams in four months. When grown to 1516 inches long, they are ready to be sold at Bt10,000 each.

Krabi’s Khao Phanom district resident Aree Detraksa said she bought breeding geckos from the Northeast to raise at her home eight months ago on the suggestion of her daughter who worked in Malaysia and earned about Bt5,000 to Bt10,000 a month.

Wildlifemonitoring organisation TRAFFIC has urged the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) to impose stricter controls on the international gecko trade.

The NGO said there was no evidence of the gecko’s efficacy as an aphrodisiac or in treating illnesses such as cancer, diabetes and HIV/Aids, and these uses could pose a danger to the species.

(Source:-Sanook and The Nation Thailand)

By Juninho