A raid that resulted in the discovery of almost 100 dead mynahs, parrots, and crocodiles has resulted in the Philippines Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) declaring what they have termed an “all-out war” on wildlife poachers.
A Philippines news source called Business Mirror had an extended report on the DENR raid Wednesday on a house in Tondo, Manila. The raid was led by Ernesto Adobo, head of the new Philippine Operations Group on Ivory and Illegal Wildlife Trade (POGI).
They acted on a tip that a large shipment of poached wildlife from Palawan would be at the house, including 310 Palawan hill mynahs, 96 blue-naped parrots, two Palawan bearcats, two leopard cats, and a Palawan otter.
Adobo explained that they had the area under surveillance for two days while waiting for a court order.
By the time they were able to enter the house, the animals were dead. They found 78 Palawan hill mynahs, 12 blue-naped parrots, and five saltwater crocodiles — all deliberately killed because they were making too much noise during the standoff.
Only the 14 pond turtles were found alive. The rescued turtles will be treated and released back in their natural habitat on Palawan.
In their Friday statement, DENR secretary Ramon J. P. Page said that, “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 and such act carries a higher penalty.”
Poaching the rare species carries a possible two year sentence, while deliberately killing them could carry a six year sentence.
The killing of a critically endangered species can carry a 12 year sentence.
In June the DENR deliberately crushed five tons of smuggled elephant ivory as proof of their intention to fight back against poachers. They said the Philippines is the first Asian country to result to deliberately destroy tusks in order to stop the illegal trade.
Adobo said that the DENR is still drawing up the criminal charges against the smugglers raided Wednesday, so they haven’t yet identified the poachers who left the dead mynahs, parrots, and crocs.
[Hill mynah photo by Spencer Wright via Flickr. Creative Commons]