GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/24 February) — Maritime police authorities filed charges on Monday for illegal transport of wildlife against five persons who allegedly tried to smuggle to this city over the weekend some 79 exotic birds and animals from Indonesia.
Chief Insp. Jemifer Gamido, chief of the 1201st maritime police station here, identified the suspects as Leonilo and Leonel Lumokso, Uswaldo Mamasanta, Benson Karil and Alvin Alihan, all residents of Barangay Calumpang here.
He said they arrested the suspects after intercepting a wildlife shipment early Saturday aboard a motorized banca that reportedly originated from North Sulawesi province in Indonesia off the coasts of Glan town in Sarangani.
Gamido said they found inside the motorboat a number of cages containing assorted wildlife species, including cockatoos, echidnas and wallabies.
“We earlier received a tip that a shipment of exotic wildlife is on its way to this city so we immediately conducted patrols in portions of the Sarangani Bay to intercept them,” he said.
The official said their initial investigation showed that the suspects were scheduled to deliver the exotic birds and animals this week to an unidentified buyer based in the city.
He said they received information that the suspects are also in contact with some buyers in various areas outside the city.
Gamido said they immediately turned over the seized wildlife to the Wildlife Protection Conservation Center of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Region 12 for proper handling.
Ali Hadjinasser, chief of the DENR-12’s protected areas and wildlife division, said the illegal wildlife shipment included species that are considered critically-endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.
He said the shipment specifically comprised 31 rainbow lorikeets, 24 dusky lories, five green lizards, four live and two dead sugar gliders, three Indonesian snakes, three pesquet’s parrots, two red-necked wallabies, two white cockatoos, two palm cockatoos and one long-beaked echidna.
Hadjinasser said the seized wildlife species are currently being quarantined at the Wildlife Protection Conservation Center here.
“Right now, we’re considering repatriating or returning these birds and animals back to their origin in Indonesia or turn them over to our rescue centers,” he said. (MindaNews)