A team from the National Bureau of Investigation, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Philippine National Police and the Philippine Army seized different kinds of exotic animals last April 8, 2019 in Barangay Dahican, City of Mati, Davao Oriental. This wildlife, mostly birds, were said to have come from Indonesia and Papua New Guinea.
Two men, who are allegedly caretakers of the wildlife, were also arrested during the buy-bust operation headed by the NBI.
Accordingly, the apprehended wildlife species were already at the area for about a week and that the caretakers were being paid to feed them.
A total of 450 species of birds, mammals and reptiles were identified and counted by the team from Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB), the DENR Regional Office and DENR Provincial Offices in Mati. The apprehended wildlife animals have an estimated international value of 50 million pesos and local value of 8 million pesos. Most of these species are categorized as endangered based on the Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).
CITES is an international agreement between governments and aims to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival. CITES was conceived to regulate the trade of wildlife animals and plants across borders and safeguard certain species from over-exploitation.
On the other hand, the NBI through its Environmental Crime Division-Investigative Service has filed charges, recommending for prosecution of the two arrested wildlife smugglers. The two will be charged for possessing and selling endangered wildlife animals in violation of Section 27 of Republic Act No. 9147 or the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act.
Assistant Secretary for Field Operations Eastern Mindanao and Regional Executive Director Ruth M. Tawantawan commended the team for its successful operation and said that the Department will continue to be vigilant in curbing illegal trading of wildlife.
“Rest assured that under Secretary Roy Cimatu’s watch, the Department will always be on the guard in curtailing wildlife trading as we are committed to safeguard wildlife species, both flora and fauna, most especially if these species are considered critically-endangered or endangered,” she said.