DAVAO CITY, Philippines — Authorities seized various species of exotic animals reportedly smuggled from Indonesia in an operation conducted on Monday, April 8 in Barangay Dahican, Mati City, Davao Oriental.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) together with the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) conducted the raid.
In a report, the authorities confiscated and identified 450 species of birds, mammals, and reptiles, including Black Palm Cockatoos, wallabies, and Echidna.
The report added that the confiscated exotic animals were in the area for safekeeping in a week before their disposal.
Authorities arrested two persons who served as caretakers of said animals during the raid.
Dr. Rogelio Demelletes Jr., senior ecosystems management specialist of DENR said the estimated value of the confiscated animals would range from PHP50 to over PHP100 million.
From Indonesia, smugglers would drop these wildlife species off in Mati City in Davao Oriental or in the area of Sarangani and before transporting and selling it to different areas in the country, according to Demelletes.
The DENR official admitted that illegal trade of wildlife in the country is still prevalent.
“Selling of these animals is being conducted through the internet, using bogus accounts to evade arrest from the authorities,” Demelletes said.
The seized animals are now at the custody of the City Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) of Mati for quarantine and rehabilitation.
“The animals will be checked if they carry any airborne diseases,” Demelletes said.
DENR will also ask the Indonesian government if it will be willing to accept back the seized animals.
Charges are now being prepared against the suspects behind the smuggling of the animals.
Under Republic Act 9147 or the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act, it is unlawful to collect, hunt or possess wildlife species. (davaotoday.com)