Nabbed wildlife traffickers yield two of this endangered bird species to DENR

Published May 18, 2021, 2:32 PM

by Ellson Quismorio

Two individuals who tried to sell umbrella cockatoos online ended up getting arrested by Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) operatives.

(Photo from Wikipedia)

A statement from the agency Tuesday, May 18, said suspects Rendel Santos, 21, and Alvin Santos, 48, fell in the hands of the DENR’s Environmental Protection and Enforcement Task Force (EPETF).

The duo was found in possession of two umbrella cockatoos (Cacatua alba) in Barangay Pagala, Baliuag, Bulacan last May 2.

DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu says the arrest of the suspects is part of the department’s renewed commitment to “conserve specific terrestrial and marine areas representative of the Philippine natural and cultural heritage for present and future generations”.

“We will continue to apprehend these illegal wildlife traders whether we have a pandemic or not. This is what the DENR can always assure the public,” Cimatu said.

He noted that while illegal wildlife traders have become more brazen since the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic began, the DENR remains vigilant in efforts to protect the country’s biodiversity.

The DENR-Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) in Baliuag, Bulacan said the suspects did not have a permit to transport the cockatoos.

SAVED–The rescued umbrella cockatoos from the two illegal wildlife traders in Bulacan. (Photo from DENR)

The umbrella cockatoo is listed under Appendix II of the Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). This means that while the particular species is not necessarily threatened with extinction, it may become so unless trade is closely controlled.

Criminal charges will be filed against the suspects for violation of Republic Act (RA) 9147 or the Wildlife Resources Protection and Conservation Act of 2001.

Section 23 of RA 9147 states that collection of threatened wildlife including the by-products and derivatives shall be allowed only for scientific, or breeding or propagation purposes, and provided that only the accredited individuals, business, research, educational or scientific entities shall be allowed to collect for conservation breeding or propagation purposes.

Last April 28, the EPETF also arrested an individual in Sta. Mesa, Manila for illegally selling umbrella cockatoos and palm cockatoos online.