By Ellalyn De Vera-Ruiz
Four exotic animals, including Serval cats, have been confiscated by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) from an exclusive subdivision in Antipolo city on May 5.
Smooth Turn Over of:
2 Serval Cat
1 Ducorp Cockatoo
1 Blue and Gold Macaw
and 4 Cages of Mr. Don Michael Perez the…
A team led by the DENR-Biodiversity Management Bureau’s Task Force Philippine Operations Group on Ivory and Illegal Wildlife (Task Force POGI), Rizal Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer (PENRO) Isidro Mercado, and the local governments of Antipolo and Cainta, seized two Serval cats (Leptailurus serval), one Ducorp’s cockatoo (Cacatua ducorpsii), and one Blue-and-gold macaw (Ara ararauna) from the house of Don Michael Perez.
Perez failed to immediately present the necessary permits to justify his possession of the wild animals.
The team has already turned over the seized animals to the BMB’s Wildlife Rescue Center in Quezon city.
DENR Undersecretary Benny Antiporda, who personally received the seized animals, commended Mercado and his team for carrying out the operation despite the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) imposed in Metro Manila and nearby provinces to contain the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
He also thanked the residents of the subdivision for providing information about exotic animals being kept at the property of one of their neighbors.
The Republic Act (RA) 9147, also known as Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act of 2001, prohibits the killing, injuring, collection, selling and transport of threatened and endangered wildlife species.
The owners of exotic pets have to secure special permits from the DENR, including wildlife collector’s permit and transport permit, otherwise their possession of these animals is considered illegal.
Serval cats are listed in the Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). This means that the species is not necessarily threatened with extinction now, but may become so in the future unless trade is closely monitored.
Perez claimed the two Serval cats were sold to him by a holder of a certificate of wildlife registration, while the Ducorp’s cockatoo was bought at a pet shop in Cartimar, Pasay City and the Blue-and-gold macaw came from Birds International Inc.
Due to the ECQ, Perez was given time to present the permits to the DENR.
However, his failure to do so will result in the filing of criminal charges against him for violating RA 9147.
Violators of the law could face a jail term of up to eight years and a fine ranging from P300,000 to P3 million.