By Glendel Nazario
About P10 million worth of endangered animals were seized from a house in Pasay City on Monday night in an operation launched by the Pasay City Police, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
Nabbed were Abraham Bernales, the house owner, and the caretakers Joner Bawente, Nestor Turion and Jose Sandigan.
Investigation showed that the operatives raided the house of Bernales around 10 in the evening at San Gregorio Village in Pasay City. According to the NBI, they received a tip there there was an ongoing big time wildlife trafficking in the area.
NBI operatives conducted a buy-bust operation and purchased a Black Plam Cuckatoo worth P100,000. During the raid, they stumbled upon the house cages containing different species of cockatoo which are considered endangered species.
Aside from birds, authorities also recovered a sugar glider which is a specie of possum, three juvenile ostriches, and two kangarooes. Most of the animals were from Indonesia and are also sold online.
The animals were then brought to the rescue center of the DENR in Quezon City where they will undergo quarantine treatment.
According to Rogelio Demelletes Jr., of the DENR-Biodiversity Management Bureau, the owner was not able to produce any permit to handle such animals. Bernales argued that the animals were not his and were only there for safekeeping.
Yet the caretakers admitted that the suspect indeed sold animals and that they were paid by Bernales P10,000 per month. The four will be charged in violation of the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act.