Two Philippine Sailfin LIzards were confiscated by combined agents of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Region 9 and the Philippine National Police during a raid in Barangay Victoria, Zamboanga City on Thursday, August 5.
The lizards, with the scientific name Hydrosaurus Pustulatus, were being kept in a pen inside a residential compound and are waiting for Malaysian buyers who have offered to pay P50-million for the reptiles.
DENR-IX Regional Executive Director Crisanta Marlene P. Rodriguez said the possession of this endangered species violates Republic Act 9147 which makes it unlawful for anyone to collect, possess or sell wildlife without the necessary DENR permits.
Rodriguez ordered the seizure after receiving an anonymous call through their hotline number that two lizards were being kept in captivity inside a house in Barangay Victoria.
The DENR refused to identify the suspect pending the conduct of an investigation.
During apprehension activities, the suspect’s wife denied involvement in her husband’s alleged illegal activity, saying the lizard was just given to them by a friend for safekeeping.
The Philippine Sailfin Lizards were placed in the custody of Zamboanga’s City Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) for their eventual release to its habitat.
“Philippine Sailfin Lizards are endemic in our country and classified as vulnerable under the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN.). Their main threats are habitat loss, being hunted for food and collection for the pet trade.” said a post by the DENR Zamboanga Peninsula.