A kampung folk who has a marketable sized Tokay gecko for sale will not have to wait long for serious buyers to make him an offer.
In light of its high market value, catching and trading in Tokay geckos have become a lucrative side business especially for villagers in the northern West Malaysian states and in East Malaysia.
Residents in northern towns of Peninsular Malaysia such as Pendang in Kedah and Balik Pulau in Penang have seen the gecko business grow into a cottage industry after news reports revealed that overseas buyers are willing to pay up to RM1 million for each reptile.
As the supply is getting scarce in Malaysia, agents have started to head towards Thailand to source for fresh supplies. Just drive into border towns such as Bukit Kayu Hitam in Kedah and you can easily sport wildlife trappers and agents advertising the Tokay gecko for sale.
While numerous gecko species are sold as pets at nominal prices, the highly prized specie in demand for its medicinal value is the Tokay gecko.
Tokay geckos are in high demand by the traditional medicine industry abroad as it is believed that the reptile’s tongue can cure AIDS. Some believe that its meat is also an aphrodisiac while its blood and bile suppresses tumors in cancer patients.
Despite the on going rumours of the medicinal cures of the gecko, Augustine Tuuga, the deputy director of Sabah Wildlife Department, was quoted in one news report saying that there is currently no scientific evidence to verify the claims.
Villagers who are involved in this business say that although the Tokay gecko is difficult to find and capture, those who manage to find this illusive reptile can expect to sell it at a lucrative price while the current gecko market is still sizzling.
As buyers are only interested in Tokay geckos weighing 300 grams and above, those possessing smaller Tokay geckos would rear the reptiles hoping to sell them once their weight exceeds 300 grams. Although Tokay geckos usually feed on insects such as crickets, cockroaches and grasshoppers, the Tokay geckos in captivity are also fed chicken liver to speed up its growth process.
The Tokay gecko (also known as the Gekko gecko) is a nocturnal arboreal gecko whose native habitat is the rain-forest trees and cliffs. The Tokay gecko is commonly found in northeast India and Bangladesh, throughout Southeast Asia and western New Guinea.
According to a news report, Rahim Ahmad, the director of the Department of Wildlife and National Parks of Peninsular Malaysia (Perhilitan) in Kedah, said that the Tokay gecko is not classified as a protected species of animals and it is thus not an offence to capture and rear the reptile.
The typical current prices for Tokay geckos are as follows:
300 grams - 399 grams = RM25,000 - RM35,000
400 grams - 499 grams = RM80,000 - RM120,000
500 grams - 599 grams = RM200,000 - RM400,000
600 grams - 799 grams = RM500,000 - RM700,000
800 grams - 999 grams = RM800,000 - RM980,000
Above 1000 grams approximately RM1 million.
At the moment there is no indication whether the Tokay gecko business will continue to grow as an industry or will fizzle out just as the Flowerhorn ornamental fish business did a few years ago. For those who remember, during the peak of the Flowerhorn craze, mature cichlids were sold for up to hundreds of thousands of Ringgit.
Despite the current demand for the Tokay gecko, the Ministry of Agriculture and Agro-Based Industry has thus far not taken any steps to assist people to formally commercialise the business.
Anyway, if anyone of you have a Tokay gecko for sale, just shoot me an email. I have genuine buyers waiting impatiently to purchase mature Tokay geckos.
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