Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Gecko hunters go north for lizards

Gecko hunters go north for lizards

Gecko hunters go north for lizards

S IEM REAP - Lizard traders from Takeo smuggled ten cane basketsful of more than

2,000 big geckos on a fast boat from this province to Vietnam earlier this

month.

The Post witnessed the haul and spoke to the traders, who

confirmed they are now hunting further and further afield because the reptiles

are becoming more scarce and difficult to find.

One anonymous trader said

they had caught almost all the lizards in nearby provinces, including Takeo, and

had now been traveling to remote parts of Cambodia to hunt the

reptiles.

"Only Preah Vihear, Rattanakiri, Mondolkiri, Siem Reap and a

few other remote provinces still have not been hunted," he said.

On his

fourth trip to Siem Reap, the farmer-turned-gecko trader said they were taking

the animals to middlemen in their home province who would re-sell them to

Vietnam, where the geckos are used to make medicinal wine for curing asthma and

other diseases.

In only four or five days, he said, the local men and

boys in Siem Reap hunted more than 1,000 geckos and sold them for 500 riels

each. In the neighboring province of Kompong Thom, Reasmei Kampuchea reported

that people had been "surprisingly" selling geckos to traders who took them to

Phnom Penh, or Vietnam.

A Siem Reap resident revealed that during the

Khmer Rouge regime people were told to catch the geckos to be exchanged for

"sewing machines" from China.

Apparently, the gecko trade is more easily

"smoothed over" with payments to officials - unlike "officially forbidden" trade

in some other animal species such as snakes or tortoises.

The Takeo

traders said they had just paid up to 40,000 riels to some "strict checkpoints"

so they would be able to transport the lizards easily.

At Kompong Luang

port in Pursat, they paid 30,000 riels to fishery police.

In addition to

asthma healing, gecko wine is traditionally used to improve "muscles and

concentration" and used by soldiers to help them concentrate better on fighting

and not think about their families at home, herbalists told the Post.

MOST VIEWED

  • US names new ambassador to Cambodia

    US President Donald Trump on Friday appointed W Patrick Murphy as the new US Ambassador to Cambodia, replacing incumbent William A Heidt. A press release posted on the White House’s website said nominee W Patrick Murphy is currently acting principal deputy assistant secretary at

  • Kingdom is at a crossroads between East, West after poll

    It was dubbed a success by caretaker prime minister Hun Sen after the electoral victory of his Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), which is poised to take all seats in the National Assembly. But the July 29 national election has not been positively looked at by

  • Chinese influence to sweep Kingdom?

    Growing Cambodia-China ties have seen the latter’s influence sweep across the Kingdom through increased investments and tourism. The Asian giant has become the leading source of foreign funds in Cambodia, fuelling the construction sector with huge casino and hotel projects. Much of the growth

  • Western poll flak is ‘pressure to take the Kingdom hostage’

    After last month’s national elections brought praise for the orderly manner they were run and managed, the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) spokesman Sok Eysan dismissed criticism from the West as a “violation of the Kingdom’s independence”. He said the attitude of