DENR sets sights on illegal plant, animal transporters-A A +A
Tuesday, March 12, 2013
THE Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) 7 will set up checkpoints at ports in Central Visayas to monitor the transport of plant and wildlife species.
Jose Layese, head of DENR 7‚Äôs Protected Areas and Wildlife Division (PAWD), said there are plant and animal inspectors assigned at airports but none at seaports.
Layese said Cebu City Zoo would also have to be inspected.
Under the Philippine Wildlife Act, those who possess wildlife must present a wildlife farm permit and a certificate of wildlife registration, among others.
Layese said those who cannot comply will have to turn over the animals to the DENR.
The move came after DENR seized four green sea turtles from a private zoo in Barangay Mabolo, Cebu City. The turtles were released last Saturday off the Olango Island Wildlife Sanctuary.
Owners of BG Rainforest Park in Barangay Mabolo vowed to comply with DENR requirements and submit an action plan, which includes measures on proper care of animals in their care.
Ariel Rica, PAWD 7 Biodiversity Conservation and Wildlife Management Section chief, said the green turtles do not survive well or breed if kept in captivity.
The turtles that were released were still very young and their flippers were still too soft for tagging. It would take eight to 10 years before the turtles mature.
The DENR 7 officials said they support business establishments that promote environmental awareness their operations should comply with regulations.
‚ÄúThe health and care of the animals are of paramount concern,‚ÄĚ said Layese.
At Cebu City Hall, Mayor Michael Rama urged the public not to patronize eateries that serve sea turtle stew.
‚ÄúAyaw pamalit aron way mamaligya. Wa may mamaligya kung wa sa‚Äôy demand (If there‚Äôs no demand, there‚Äôs no supply),‚ÄĚ he said.
He said sea turtle stew has been sold at Barangay Pasil for some time, but the practice was only highlighted now.
Sea turtles are covered by the Convention on International Trade in Endangers Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (Cites) to which the Philippines is a signatory.
In another development, Rama lashed out at the Philippine Earth Justice Center and the Freedom from Debt Coalition for accusing the City Government of failing to implement the Republic Act 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act.
Rama pointed out City Hall‚Äôs ‚Äúno segregation, no collection‚ÄĚ policy that penalizes households and commercial establishments that fail to separate biodegradable from non-biodegradable wastes.
He also cited the closure of the sanitary landfill in Barangay Inayawan and diverting the city‚Äôs waste to a private sanitary landfill in Consolacion.
‚ÄúLet them be more circumspect in using the word sue,‚ÄĚ the mayor said.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 12, 2013.