Endangered species found in Manila slum

Wildlife trader, aides kill rare animals before police came

A suspected wildlife trader and his aides killed five crocodiles and 90 birds shortly before the police and environmental authorities raided their place in Tondo, a slum district in Manila, on Saturday, July 3.

Besides the juvenile saltwater crocodiles and birds found by the raiding team, they also located 14 live Philippine forest and pond turtles, 78 Palawan hill mynahs, 12 blue-naped parrots and a cache of other rare species.

“What’s particularly alarming about this poaching incident is that there were reports that most of these endangered animals were intentionally killed to avoid detection by authorities,” Environment Secretary Ramon Paje said in a July 5 statement.

The trade or capture of turtle species, considered “critically endangered” by a global ‘red list’ compiled by the Swiss-based International Union for the Conservation of Nature, and all the animals found during the raid is prohibited under Philippine laws, a July 6 Agence France-Presse report said.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) did not state whether the suspects have been identified or apprehended.

Paje revealed that an informant had tipped off government authorities that a wildlife trafficker was shipping endangered species to Manila from Palawan, the central Philippine island-province known for its lush vegetation, stunning beaches and rare wildlife.

“The … administration is dead serious about stopping not only the destruction of our environment but also wildlife crime,” said Paje, who also denounced the suspects’ “cruelty” to animals.

The Philippines became the first Asian country to destroy its ivory stockpile seized from smugglers in ports and airports all over the country when it crushed five tonnes of elephant tusks last month.

DENR said the Philippines supports global efforts to curb the trade and capture of endangered species.

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