SPECIES IN PERIL

Manila Bulletin - - Front Page - (Ali Vi­coy)

– A Philip­pine Coast Guard (PCG) per­son­nel in­spects a ship­ment con­tain­ing 58 Pan­golins, which is con­sid­ered crit­i­cally en­dan­gered, be­lieved to be headed to other Asian coun­tries as cure for some diseases and as aphro­disiac. The ‘scaly anteaters’ were with a ship­ment, that also in­cluded 14 boxes of sea horses, and a car­ton of sea dragons, val­ued at more than 11 mil­lion, seized by the BOC at Pier 4 in North Har­bor, Manila.

The Philip­pine Coast Guard on Fri­day found a truck loaded with dead and pre­served pan­golins, sea­horses and other wildlife aboard a ship docked at Manila North Har­bor’s Pier 4.

A team from the Coast Guard found seven styro boxes con­tain­ing 60 pan­golins or scaly anteaters, 13 sacks of sea­horses and a box of sea dragon in a truck aboard the MV St. Fran­cis Xavier, owned by 2GO Group, Inc., Coast Guard spokesman Com­man­der Ar­mand Balilo said in a text mes­sage to the me­dia.

The St. Fran­cis Xavier is a ferry that plies the Iloilo-Ba­colod-Manila route.

A team from the Manila Coast Guard Sta­tion, PCG K-9 unit, Sea Mar­shal Group and the Philip­pine Air Force (PAF) In­tel­li­gence Unit that boarded the ves­sel found a truck loaded with the dead and pre­served an­i­mals.

The truck was listed in the ship’s cargo man­i­fest as car­ry­ing plas­tic scraps.

The team also dis­cov­ered other cargo aboard sus­pected to con­tain other va­ri­eties of en­dan­gered species.

Rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the De­part­ment of Nat­u­ral Re­sources (DENR) ar­rived at Pier 4 to ex­am­ine and iden­tify the other seized ma­rine species.

The cargo and the truck driver and his helper were held at the Coast Guard Sta­tion in Manila and will be brought to the Manila Pros­e­cu­tor’s Of­fice, Balilo said.

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