The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) operations against illegal wildlife trade is unabated amid the “worst global humanitarian crisis,” Secretary Roy Cimatu said.
Data obtained by the Asian Development Bank and the DENR-Biodiversity Management Bureau indicate the value of illegal wildlife trade in the country is estimated at P50 billion yearly.
It includes the market value of wildlife and its resources, ecological role and value, damage to habitats and loss in potential revenues for ecotourism.
Among the majority of animals confiscated were freshwater turtles, pangolins, Goffins cockatoos, and plants such as endemic pitcher plants and lady slipper orchids.
Under Republic Act No. 9147 or the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act, violators are subject to imprisonment of six to 12 years with a fine of P100,000 to P1 million, depending on the severity.
“We assure the public that the DENR would not cease in going after illegal wildlife trade criminals, especially those who have seized the opportunity to take advantage of the crisis through wildlife trafficking,” Cimatu said.
Last month, the DENR National Capital Region Enforcement Division rescued a Philippine pangolin in Quiapo, Manila, and taken to the Wildlife Rescue Center of the Biodiversity Management Bureau in Quezon City for proper care.
“Just like the other front liners in health, food security, social service, military, and economic governance institutions, our indefatigable wildlife enforcers have committed to continue with their public service and duty to protect our country’s natural resources,” Cimatu said.