Caraga cops seize cargo of wild animals, see big-time trafficking operations
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY—Police said they may have stumbled upon a big-time operation to traffic wildlife following the seizure of a shipment of endangered animals in Tandag City, Surigao del Sur province on Sunday.
Lt. Col. Christian Rafols II, Caraga regional police spokesperson, said two high-end vehicles were used to transport the caged animals. The vehicles’ make or brand was not mentioned, though.
The attempted wildlife trafficking was discovered when police at a checkpoint in Tandag City stopped the vehicles and found their illegal cargo.
Three individuals on board the vehicles could not present permits to transport wildlife and were arrested.
They were identified as Dante L. Toledo, 40, of General Santos City; Joel C. Demoral, 38, of Cagayan de Oro City and Jory C. Demoral, 51 of Davao City.
Their vehicles yielded caged parrots, monitor lizards and other endangered animals which police said were caught in Mati City and being transported to Pasay City.
Rafols said the suspects were charged with violating the Animal Welfare Act of 1998.
Employees of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources were conducting an inventory of the animals in Tandag, according to Rafols.
The Biodiversity Conservation Society of the Philippines in 2016 said the Philippines is a biodiversity hotspot and losing its many terrestrial and endemic species at a rapid rate, partly due to the lucrative wildlife trade.
The Asian Development Bank in its March 2019 report estimated the value of illegal wildlife trade in the Philippines at P50 billion a year./TSB
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