Endangered Cloud rat, monitor lizards seized from illegal wildlife traders


Endangered Cloud Rat, Monitor Lizards Seized from Illegal Wildlife Traders


A Southern Luzon Slender Tailed Cloud Rat (Phloeomys cumingi) and five common monitor lizards (Varanus marmaratus) were seized from illegal wildlife traders on the initiative of no less than the director of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources–Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau, veterinary doctor Mundita Sison Lim who chanced upon the wildlife trading activity along Laurel Highway in San Jose, Batangas last Sunday, November 10, 2013 as her group was travelling towards Manila.

Lim said the traders were trying to sell the wildlife to motorists. She said the cloud rat was being sold at P500, while the monitor lizards, commonly called bayawak, were at P300 a piece.

cloud rat and poacher 1   lizard and poachers 2

“Both (Southern Luzon slender tailed cloud rat and common monitor lizard) are threatened or vulnerable species. The cloud rat is very rare, found only in the Philippines, and not a lot of Filipinos know how special they are,” the PAWB chief said.

Lim alerted the DENR office in Batangas which dispatched a team composed of Protected Area Wildlife and Coastal Zone Management Service chief Ramon B. Berbano and Wildlife Enforcement Officers Primo Buagas and Epifanio Buquid.

The PAWB chief and the DENR Batangas City Team mustered the support of the San Jose Police Office led by Chief Inspector Oliver Basco Ebora and Deputy Chief, Inspector Ricardo Zara de Guzman who dispatched SPO1 Nelson V. Flores, PO3 Doji M. Garcia and PO1 Michael T. Lasi who effected the arrest of the trio and seizure of the endangered wildlife.

Detained at the San Jose municipal jail for further investigation and for filing of appropriate charges at the San Jose Police Station were Evelyn P. Soriquez, Sharon C. Roña and Jhon Mark M. Roña, all residents of Sitio Tramo, Barangay Banay-banay. San Jose, Batangas. They will be facing charges for violation of Sec. 27 of Republic Act 9147 or the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act and if convicted, they will be meted with fine and imprisonment.

wildlife poachers 3

The police were backed up by the Philippine Air Force (PAF) team from the Fernando Air Base in Lipa City. The team dispatched by Base Commander Col. Anselmo DP Junsay was led by Lt. Col. Arnel L. Villareal with Staff Sergeant Edilberto Gonzales and Airman Third Class Giovanni Eclaves as members.

Lim said, “The illegal wildlife traders, some of them are ‘repeat offenders,’ should be prosecuted.”

She lamented, “We should stop this (capturing and trading of wildlife)! Depleting our wildlife resources reduces our natural seed dispersers that help us restore our forests and natural vegetation.”

“The poachers and traders, as well as would be buyers, are also in danger of getting infected with a disease, emerging diseases still unknown to humans. And the wildlife might be carriers of the disease,’ Lim warned.

As Lim expressed appreciation for the support of the Police and the Airforce, she commended the DENR team. “Credit also goes to DENR Region 4A CALABARZON regional executive director Reynulfo Juan, Batangas Provincial ENR Officer Elmer Bascos and Batangas City ENR Officer Laudemir Salac for quickly sending the wildlife enforcement officers to the site,” she said

The cloud rat and the monitor lizards were brought to the CALABARZON Regional Wildlife Rescue Center in Calauan, Laguna for rehabilitation.

Florida G. Castro, chief of the Wildlife Management Section and Staff Science Research Assistant Raymund F. Mercurio secured the biometrics of the confiscated wildlife.

Mercurio revealed that the Southern Luzon Slender Tailed Cloud Rat has a weight of 6.5 kilograms while among the five Common Monitor Lizards, the measurements ranged from the biggest at 1.6 meters length and 2.5 kgs weight to the smallest at 91 centimeters and 1.2 kgs.

He said microchips will be implanted on the wildlife before releasing them to the wild after full rehabilitation.