10 pangolins rescued from illegal wildlife trader in Palawan

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PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, Palawan — A fisherman was arrested Friday by environmental authorities for illegal collection and possession of some 10 critically endangered scaly anteaters or pangolins in the northern town of Taytay.

Voltaire delos Angeles, forest technician and team leader of the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office Quick Response Team (CENRO QRT) in Taytay, identified the fisherman as Danilo Demolar, 49, resident of Purok Masagana, Barangay Liminangcong.

He was arrested at 4 p.m. in Sitio Panikian, also in Liminangcong, for violation of Section 27 (f) of Republic Act 9147, or Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act of 2001.

The particular section in the Act states about the illegality of “collecting, hunting or possessing wildlife, their by-products, and derivatives.”

“Itong si Demolar ay matagal na naming minamanmanan dahil siya ay namimili ng balintong na siya naman niyang ibinibenta sa kamag-anak ng kanyang asawa na taga-Mindoro (We have been monitoring Demolar for quite sometime now because he is the buyer of the pangolins, which he will later sell to a relative of his wife who is from Mindoro),” delos Angeles told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) in an interview.

Demolar said a Mindoro buyer allegedly peddles the pangolins, locally known as “balintong,” to Chinese buyers.

He said he buys from collectors the pangolins weighing 4.2 kilos for PHP1,000 to PHP1,200 a kilo and sells them at PHP1,500.

“Binibili din niya sa mga nagkokolekta ‘yong mga pangolin tapos pinatataba niya at pinakakain ng anay sa may bundok kung saan siya may kubo-kubong bahay. Itinatago niya ang mga pangolin sa drum at saka ibebenta kapag napataba na. (He buys them from pangolin collectors and then he will farm them for a while in a mountainous area where he has a hut by feeding them with termites. He will sell them after he has fattened them up),” delos Angeles said.

Delos Angeles said Demolar has been engaged in the illegal wildlife trade for three months already before his arrest and has, in fact, made a lot of shipments.

“Kapag binibili iyong mga balintong parang iniikutan na lang noong buyer sa Liminangcong kasi marami daw sila na bumibili sa mga kolektor. Ang bangka niya kumpleto sa gamit, may timbangan pa. (When it’s already time to sell, it’s like the buyer just goes around Liminangcong because there are many of them who buy from collectors. His boat is complete and even has a weighing scale),” he added.

Delos Angeles said Demolar’s arrest was due to the CENRO’s stepped up campaign against illegal wildlife trading in Taytay where there is a good population of pangolins, particularly on Barangay Tubod Island, Taytay.

The arrest, which was assisted by forest protection officers (FPO), has made them more alert in Taytay now against illegal wildlife trafficking, he said.

“Talagang palalakasin ang monitoring at pagbabantay lalo na dito sa Taytay kung saan nangongolekta sila ng balintong (We will really step up our monitoring, especially here in Taytay where they collect balintong),” he added. -PNA

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