The Bureau of Customs-Port of NAIA has intercepted a package with 20 endangered tarantulas and eight scorpions at the Central Mail Exchange Center (CMEC) in Pasay City.
Twenty-eight plastic containers individually housing the tarantulas and scorpions were found upon opening of the package.
Records showed that the package from Samut Parakain, Thailand was misdeclared as teaching equipment and imported without the necessary import permits.
The tarantulas and scorpions were immediately turned over to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Wildlife Traffic Monitoring Unit (DENR-WTMU) for rehabilitation and care.
In October last year, BoC-NAIA also intercepted 119 tarantulas from Poland concealed in a pair of rubber shoes.
Illegal importation, collection, and trade of endangered wildlife are punishable by imprisonment of six years and a fine of P200,000 under Republic Act 9147 or the Wildlife Resources Protection and Conservation Act.
Under Section 1401 of the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act, unlawful importation of goods with appraised value of more than P250,000, including duties and taxes, is penalized by imprisonment of not less than 30 days but not more than six months or a fine of not less than P25,000 but not more than P75,000.
According to District Collector Carmelita M. Talusan, in compliance with the directive of BoC Commissioner Rey Leonardo B. Guerrero to intensify border protection, they continue to man air cargo terminals and warehouses round-the-clock to check on illicit goods and those which require necessary permits.
Bureau of Customs-NAIA said they are one with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in upholding the conservation and protection of wildlife and deterring wildlife smuggling.