Protect Vulnerable Geckos From Poaching


Target: John Scanlon, Secretary-General for the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES)

Goal: Protect tokay geckos from being hunted for their alleged medicinal value.

A vulnerable species of gecko is being targeted by poachers to be used in traditional medicinal liquors that have no scientifically proven health benefits. The tokay gecko has great cultural significance in parts of Asia, where it is believed to be descended from dragons and is viewed as a symbol of good luck and fertility. This folklore has been applied to the species’ medicinal value as well; the tokay gecko is mistakenly believed to nourish the kidneys and lungs, and is a key ingredient in certain traditional Chinese medicines. As a result, the species is vulnerable to poachers looking to make a profit off of its alleged medicinal value, and the population is suffering.

The tokay gecko is native to Asia and some Pacific Islands and is recognizable for its large size, spotted coloration, and loud, croaking call. This loud vocalization makes the species an easy target for hunters, as it can be heard from a great distance. Increasing urbanization has already shrunk the tokay gecko’s habitat range, and the added threat of poaching has caused its population to decrease at an alarming rate. The species is so highly sought after in China, Taiwan, and other parts of Asia that some vendors will pay thousands of dollars for large specimens and will even go so far as to disfigure other lizard species with prosthetics to pass them off for tokay geckos.

The tokay gecko needs to be defended, but is not yet considered endangered and therefore lacks certain protections that would keep it safe from hunters. Even the laws that are currently in place do little to stop illegal wildlife trade. In the Philippines, for example, collecting, transporting and trading geckos without a license is a highly punishable offense, yet is are such a huge number of illegal traders that the crime goes largely unchecked. Sign the petition below to urge CITES to increase conservation efforts and enforce poaching restrictions to keep the tokay gecko from extinction.


Dear Mr. Scanlon,

The tokay gecko, a vulnerable species, is a target for poachers due to its alleged medicinal value. The species is believed to have health benefits for the kidneys and lungs despite a lack of scientific proof, and is a key ingredient in several traditional Chinese medicines. The tokay gecko is considered so valuable in China, Taiwan, Malaysia, and other parts of Asia that some merchants will pay thousands of dollars for large specimens, creating a steady demand for hunters looking to make a profit.

Increasing urbanization has already taken a toll on the tokay gecko’s habitat, and the combination of shrinking territory and continual poaching is causing the population to decline at an alarming rate. The tokay gecko is known for its loud, croaking call, and this vocalization only helps to make it an easy target for hunters as it can be heard from far away.

The laws that are currently in place to protect this species have proven insufficient. In the Philippines, for example, illegal wildlife trade is rampant despite the heavy fine and term of imprisonment that are meant to prohibit the unlicensed collection and trade of geckos. I am urging you to increase conservation efforts to protect this vulnerable gecko species. Please take action to prevent illegal poaching, and put an end to the harmful tradition of using tokay gecko parts in supposedly medicinal liquors.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Vberger

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  1. Otra vez ..estos Chinos ..torturando y experimentando con seres indefensos..porqué no se cansan ..o Dios les mande una plaga a ellos…y se mueran unos millones se,estos,mal llamados. Seres. Humanos!!!!??

  2. Chinese medicine again!!!

  3. E. Cambridge says:

    Asia. Number one country for its atrocities against animals and any other species. Torturing, boiling cats and dogs, puppies and kittens alive, then eating them. Why? They don’t need the meat. 99.9 percent are stolen pets who still have their collars on. Their dog and cat fur “trade” is also built on stolen pets and equally as horrific. Cats and dogs have their fur ripped off their backs while they are still alive. The fur sold as “mink” and “unknown” on cheap products exported to unsuspecting western countries and Europe. The toxicity of their products is legendary and they have been blacklisted by the European Union for it. They use and abuse all in their path. The answer? Boycott them. Don’t buy what they export. Don’t travel there.China has the Olympics coming up and, for their boiling of cats and dogs, they were given the World Dog Show to host. Boycott them. Boycott their sponsors. Tell all you know to do the same.

    • Bev Woodburn says:

      I agree with your comment. The Chinese are known as the vilest of animal torturers and suffering Worldwide.
      They are an abomination.

  4. Ana French says:

    Heading towards elimination of all especies … Human included. How sad

  5. Linda Hilty-Tuttle says:

    Even poor little geckos aren’t safe from human plundering!
    I swear there are people who would sell their own mothers for cash, if it were legal!

  6. Bev Woodburn says:

    Here we go again the Chinese would have to have their hands in the killing of the Keckos for their fake medicinal claims.

  7. Bev Woodburn says:

    No animal Worldwide is safe from the human species and especially China. All these atrocities committed against the innocent purely for GREED and the heartless Chinese fake medicinal claims.

  8. What part does China not understand? That there are modern up-date chemicals and herbs now being used for modern medicine cures. And this is not something new! It has been used for decades but China continues to use animal parts for their hocus-pocus get well quick remedies which heals nothing and is about as useful and dependable as their bulls#it fortune cookies. Now that the world has been exposed to the horrid cruelties of the bear bile farms and its money making fake placebo, in which no one wants to drink that poison sh%t anymore. Come on now, do you really think drinking bear bile is going to cure a hang-over? That’s what China says. So what does China do now? They move on to the next animal or insect to torture and abuse to claim the same thing as with all the other past animals they have abused claiming to be a health cure. They just don’t get it, that the modern educated public is not stupid, dumb nor naive enough anymore to fall for that gimmick. China needs to give up on abusing animals and join in with the 21st century and start using modern science for medicine cures. China is still trying to cash in on ancient medicine cures at the expense of abusing animals. NOT HAPPENING!!

  9. Lisa Allred Lisa Zarafonetis says:

    Signed & Shared.

  10. When will these unproved myths STOP — we all know that worldwide these “tales” exist — some are accurate BUT most are not — it’s ignorant to believe in their medicinal value — there is NONE — STOP DESTROYING THE GECKOS — they need to live — the planet needs them to live — STOP killing them off! — For the love of God, let the Geckos be!

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