Thursday, 11 July 2013

Endangered species found in slums

Manila - Five dead crocodiles, 14 critically endangered turtles and a cache of other rare species have been found in the home of a suspected wildlife trader in one of the Philippines' biggest slums, the government said on Friday.

The juvenile saltwater crocodiles, as well as 90 birds, were killed by the trader or his aides shortly before police and environment officials raided the place on Wednesday, Environment Secretary Ramon Paje said.

He denounced the unnamed suspects' “cruelty”.

“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,” Paje said in a statement.

The authorities also found 14 live Philippine forest and pond turtles in the address in Manila's Tondo slum district, he added.

The turtle species are considered “critically endangered” according to global “red list” compiled by the Swiss-based International Union for the Conservation of Nature.

All the animals, which also included 78 Palawan hill mynahs and 12 blue-naped parrots, are protected by Philippine law, which prohibits their trade or capture.

Paje said an informant tipped off the government that a wildlife trafficker was shipping protected animals to Manila from the western Philippine island of Palawan, one of the country's last wildlife refuges.

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