DENR seizes truckload of turtle, pangolin meat in Puerto Princesa
PUERTO PRINCESA CITY – A truckload of banned wildlife meat believed destined for the black market was confiscated Saturday morning at a Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) checkpoint at the northern outskirts of Puerto Princesa City.
Community Environment and Natural Resource Officer (CENRO) Elmer Garaez told the Inquirer they apprehended the contraband at their Santa Lourdes checkpoint around 5:30 a.m. loaded in a truck that was coming from the northern part of the province.
DENR inspectors discovered in an Elf truck 21 frozen pangolins and 16 sea turtles, all dead. The truck driver was detained while charges for illegal trafficking of wildlife were being prepared by authorities.
The pangolins are believed to be those found only in Palawan (Manis Culionensis) and classified by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as endangered. These animals are hunted for their prized scales which are used for ornaments and their meat which are utilized in Chinese medicines, among others.
Authorities were still examining the shipment to determine the species classification of the marine turtles. The IUCN list of endangered animals also lists marine turtles as either endangered, critically endangered or vulnerable.
Garaez said they had yet to determine the estimated market price of the shipment and had turned them over to the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD) for disposition.
“We were told by the driver that he came from Roxas and that he was only supposed to deliver it to somebody in Puerto (Princesa City),” Garaez said.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.