PUERTO PRINCESA CITY: Environment protection officials in Palawan rescued over the weekend at least 979 rare and critically endangered turtles that were supposed to be sold in the Chinese black market.
The turtles were confiscated from the possession of suspected wildlife traffickers Joel Sulayaw, Gerald Favila and Benjie Dimasupil at 8:30 p.m. on Sunday in Barangay Old Guinlo, northern town of Taytay.
The raiding team, composed of the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development enforcers and members of the Provincial Law Enforcement Task Force, brought the turtles to Puerto Princesa on Monday for inventory and proper disposition.
The types of turtles that were rescued include Southeast Asian box turtles, Asian leaf turtles, and the Philippine pond turtles, which are listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as “vulnerable, lower risk or near threatened, and critically endangered.”
As of this posting, inquest proceedings are being prepared against the suspects for illegally possessing wildlife species in violation of Republic Act 9147 or the Philippine Wildlife Act.