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PIA Press Release
Thursday, January 05, 2012


Palawan authorities on alert vs illegal protected species trade

by Vicky S. Mendoza

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, Palawan, January 5 (PIA) -- A box containing 26.5 kilos of meat of Philippine pangolin or anteater locally known as “balintong” was confiscated Wednesday by PNP- Aviation Security personnel.

Only a few days ago, boxes of anteater scales and turtle scutes were seized at the same airport in this city.

The two incidents rang alarm bells on alleged rampant illegal trade of protected species in the province.

The anteater meat, bound for Manila, was declared as goat meat cargo via a Cebu Pacific flight when AVSEC authorities took aside the suspicious box after passing the x-ray machine. When opened, authorities found fresh anteater meat crammed inside with its tails, legs and snouts.

According to Atty. Adele Villena, head of the legal department of the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development Staff (PCSDS), the illegal wildlife trade in the province is increasingly becoming a challenge for the group as it involves Palawan’s endangered endemic species like the Philippine Pangolin or anteater.

Earlier this week, airport authorities seized several boxes containing anteater scales and turtle scutes at the same airport. The shipment, bound for Cebu,was declared as dried fish with an estimated value of P1 million.

The dried scales of the anteater are used in traditional Chinese medicines and the meat is considered a delicacy in China while the scutes or the external scales on the shell of turtles are used for decorative purposes.

Villena said that they will pursue the case against the consigner, the buyer, and others involved in the shipment in compliance with Republic Act 9147 also known as the “Wildlife Resources and Conservation Act.”

She added that the council already has information that would connect the consigner of the shipment of turtle scutes and anteater scales to the shipper of the anteater meat.

The seized shipments are now in the custody of the PCSDS that will be used as evidence in the filing of cases against the traders. The two incidents are under thorough investigation led by the PCSDS. (LBR/VSM/PIA-Palawan)

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