Taiwan-bound turtles, eels intercepted at Naia
The Bureau of Customs (BOC) foiled an attempt to smuggle endangered wildlife out of the country after it intercepted seven parcels containing turtles and live eels at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) on Friday.
The packages, which were bound for Taiwan, were set to be loaded on a China Airlines flight when found to be containing 123 Chinese soft-shell turtles and live eels of still undetermined number.
“It was through profiling and manual examination that the BOC’s export division was able to intercept the shipment of 3H Enterprises Ltd.,” BOC commissioner Isidro Lapena said in a statement.
The turtles, reportedly from Pampanga province, did not have the required export permits from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
Naia district collector Ramon Anquilan said the turtles were considered a regulated export, hence their shipment required approval from the DENR.
“Aside from being endemic to China and Taiwan, these turtles can also be farmed. They are usually harvested for food and folk tonic remedies,” Anquilan said.
Last month, the BOC’s enforcement and security service operatives also intercepted several outbound wildlife species.
On Oct. 26, a package supposedly containing pastries and bound for Sweden was found containing a pit viper, four Philippine cobras and 10 sailfin lizards.
Four days later, another parcel containing seven pit vipers bound for China was intercepted after an X-ray examination.
The animals were turned over to the DENR. —Julie M. Aurelio
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