MANILA, Philippines -- An official says police have rescued more than 1,600 geckos in a southern Philippine warehouse they suspect would have been smuggled to Asian countries.
The Philippines has expressed alarm over the growing trade in the wall-climbing lizards. They are used as aphrodisiacs or traditional medicine for asthma, AIDS, cancer, tuberculosis and impotence in countries like China, South Korea and Malaysia.
An 11-ounce (300-gram) gecko reportedly sells for at least 50,000 pesos ($1,160).
Police Senior Supt. Albert Ferro said Wednesday the export of exotic reptiles like geckos is prohibited. Police are preparing criminal complaints against six people who kept the geckos in a warehouse in General Santos city where some lizards have died in boxes.