072611 - The Urban Tracker (On Tuko Hunting Craze) : To Cling Like A Gecko

Tuko or the Philippine gecko is the latest sensation that mostly easy moneymaker nowadays fall prey into and the trade even invaded online. A friend of mine has been exhausting contacts from provinces and other network just to find the one that clinches the 300 gm weight or more that is believed to be worth around 1.5 million or more. Anything less than that can only amount ranging from 100-300,000 pesos.

It’s rather a myth that a Philippine gecko produces the enzyme that holds the possible cure for cancer or AIDS, as claimed and discounted by DENR officials. It’s a play safe pronouncement with the existing rules on ban of selling endangered specie like geckos. Tuko or geckos play a good part in maintaining  balance in the ecosystem thus their diminishment will have adverse effect.

I heard a tale of this once, a long staying European scientist in 70's conducted the study of our local geckos for years and returned home and in his years of study proved that geckos in Philippines have the only unique property and capability of producing the enzyme. His long standing findings were presented and approved by World Health experts that allow him to carry further test.Of course, the rest we can only imagine now how other big pharmeceutical companies respond to this breakthrough.

Indo Gecko
So that explains the demand coming from an outside source and there’s really some accredited buyers with contracts acting as couriers for them. And I understand how easy for us Filipinos to get into this bandwagon not minding about the depletion of this local reptile. Scam or not, now we can really literally say that there are ‘kapit-tuko’.  I even know some engineers, professionals going to hunting expeditions just to capture that fragile creature and even some policeman who has confiscated and resell it to their benefit.

I guess no matter how strict the fines set by  Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau (PAWB) for this specie under Republic Act 9147, it feeds the minds of the hungry and the greedy.  So nowadays instead of people lining up a stake for lotto, they would never mind going to unexplored corners to find the right weight  catch….the  right buyer is another story.