DENR to bar entry of suspected wildlife trafficker-A A +A
Sunday, August 19, 2012
FILIPINO officials in China will closely monitor the possible re-entry of a Chinese national who was caught twice by Hong Kong airport authorities for bringing in wildlife species from the Philippines without permits.
Xiamen-based Consul General Adelio Cruz assured this to Environment Secretary Ramon Paje, who received reports that Zhang Wen Wei may return to the Philippines to continue his illicit activities.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) earlier asked for the assistance of the Bureau of Immigration (BI) and the Philippine Consulate in Xiamen, China to refuse Zhang’s re-entry to the country.
Zhang was first apprehended in Hong Kong last February 8 with 36 turtles, 20 of which were Philippine pond turtles, considered one of the rarest turtle species in the world.
The rest were Asian box turtles, also categorized as vulnerable species in the Philippines, although it is also found thriving in other tropical countries in the Southeast Asia.
For this, Zhang was fined HK$8,000 or P45,000.
The first penalty seemed not to have deterred Zhang, as he repeated the offense five months later.
On a June 14 trip to Hong Kong from the Philippines aboard another Cebu Pacific flight, he transported a total of 137 reptiles of different species. He was immediately prosecuted by Hong Kong authorities on June 15 and meted a six-week imprisonment.
Last August 1, the Hong Kong government repatriated 19 Mindanao water monitor lizards, 39 Philippine forest turtles, 46 Southeast Asian box turtle, and one reticulated python.
Meanwhile, Paje said strictly regulating the trade of endemic species would also prevent their introduction as possible foreign and invasive species that might later be harmful to other country’s endemic wildlife.
He added that the confiscation of the wildlife and their subsequent repatriation to the Philippines were also in accordance with the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (Cites).
Cites is an international treaty that protects wildlife against over-exploitation, and ensures that their survival is not threatened by illegal trading. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)