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6 charged for illegal transport of endangered species – DENR

Six people have been charged for allegedly attempting to smuggle endangered birds and mammals from Palawan to Manila, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said Tuesday. Among those charged are Melchor Limlengco, driver of the van containing the animals, and five passengers identified as Armando Ariola, Roderick Gabilga, Erick Dela Cruz, Jeffrey Almendraz and Gelfred Legarda. The six were charged for violation of Republic Act 9147 (Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act) after they were caught in Batangas last Sunday allegedly transporting P1-million worth of endangered wildlife species, including leopard cats, mynahs, hornbills and a bearcat from Palawan. The confiscated wildlife species have been brought to the DENR Wildlife Rescue Center at the Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife Nature Center in Quezon City for rehabilitation and safekeeping, according to Environment Secretary Ramon Paje. Paje also directed the department’s regional officials to closely coordinate with various law enforcement agencies to map out strategies to combat illegal collection and transport of wildlife species. “This incident shows that illegal wildlife trade is very much alive in the country. We have to curb this malpractice," he said in a news release posted on the DENR website. The DENR secretary also lauded local environment and police officials who successfully intercepted the illegal wildlife trade. “We should protect and take pride in our biodiversity, and exert all efforts to prevent the disappearance of any species, especially those that are endemic to the country and can only be found her," he said.—Andreo C. Calonzo/JV, GMANews.TV