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Marinduque Mainland from Tres Reyes Islands

Marinduque Mainland from Tres Reyes Islands
View of Mainland Marinduque from Tres Reyes Islands-Click on Photo to link to Marinduque Awaits You

Monday, June 27, 2011

Illegal Sale of Geicos or "Tuku" in the Philippines



We have a couple of Tuko residing happily at the Chateau Du Mer Beach House in Boac, Marinduque as well as in our main house. The sounds they make is very reassuring that they are alive and healthy. Sometimes, I would count the number of times, the geico say "Tuku". It varies from 7 to 10 times. The first tuku sound is very loud. It decreases in decibels so that the last one you could barely hear. Have you ever hear this Tuku sound? Speaking of tuku, we have a guest from Maryland recently. He is 35 years old, but very scared of the tuku. Evidently, when he was growing up in the Philippines, the locals informed him that once the tuku landed in your body, you will never be able to get rid of him. Until now, he still believe in this folk tale. Thus, when his dad and him stayed at the beach house, he made it sure that the tuku is never near him. When he told me of this incident, I started laughing, but I know he was serious. Before they check out, I told him finally that I believe his story about the tuku.

I do not want any poachers coming to the resort offering me a lot of money for a live Geico. A couple of my friends in FaceBook are now soliciting live Gieco's for sale offering a lot of money depending on the weight of the geico. Shame, Shame to all of you, Poachers and Sellers! The following news item attracted my attention today.

Here's the latest news on this subject. Indiscriminate sale of ‘Tuko’ by Charlie V. Manalo, Daily Tribune published on 06/27/2011

"The gecko-hunting frenzy that is now sweeping many of the country’s rural communities has called the attention of several congressmen who now want the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to look into the massive and indiscriminate trading of geckos, a specie of lizards belonging to the family Gekkonidae, found in warm climates throughout the world and known locally in the Philippines as “tuko.”

Western Samar Rep. Mel Senen Sarmiento warned that this fad might push the extinction of this particular animal which is known to feed on insects such as mosquitoes and flies and cause irreversible effects on the environment.

According to Sarmiento, the Internet and even some of the country’s top buy-and-sell magazines are flooded with classified ads on gecko trading, some of which even claim to be agents of the World Health Organization (WHO).

They claim that geckos have potent medicinal properties and are being bought by pharmaceutical companies that are developing medicines for cancer and even the dreaded Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS).

Sarmiento said some of these ads looking for geckos offer to pay as much as P3 million for a single live gecko that weighs 400 grams and up. Because of this, gecko-hunting have become a nationwide fad although there is not a single proof showing that one had become a millionaire for selling geckos.

“Whether or not these ads are authentic or not, this indiscriminate poaching of geckos have very serious and long-term implications on our ecosystem. Our tukos are a key element in balancing our ecosystem,” Sarmiento said.

Ang Kasangga Rep. Teodorico Haresco said geckos are nature’s most effective weapon against insect overpopulation, and their extinction would certainly offset the country’s biodiversity.

“There is a need for the DENR to look into this gecko-hunting frenzy and possibly get into the bottom of these claims on the alleged medicinal properties of this lizard. The DENR should now move to save the tuko from total annihilation,” Haresco stressed.

The solon also noted that not a single pharmaceutical firm or any certified scientific and medical research organization which has confirmed the medicinal values of the geckos.

Haresco said while the Philippine gecko is not included in the list of endangered animal species, the DENR can classify them as part of the “Other Threatened Species” because of the recent gecko-hunting frenzy.

He said he would file a measure that would seek to re-classify gecko as endangered to protect the lizard from total extinction.

According to Haresco, Paragraph E and F, Chapter IV of Republic Act 9147 spelled out that trading of wildlife and collection, hunting or possessing wildlife, their by-products and derivatives are considered illegal acts.

For illegal acts under paragraph E (trading), penalties/fines can be imprisonment of 10 days to one month, or a fine of not less than P200 or not more than P20,000, if inflicted or undertaken against other wildlife species.

For illegal acts under paragraph F (collection, hunting or possession), imprisonment of one month and one day to six months and a fine of not less than P5,000 to P50,000 will be imposed if inflicted or undertaken against species as other threatened species".

What do you know about tuko's( geicos)in the Philippines? Let me hear from you! Cheers!

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