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The Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD) called on the people to help in the fight against wildlife trade including the sale of their byproducts as it estimated the market value in the black market of the pangolin scales and other wildlife byproducts confiscated last week in a rented house here in Puerto Princesa City.
The joint operation on September 27 in an abandoned house in Brgy. San Pedro was conducted by the PCSD, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Armed Forces.
The confiscated pangolin scales weighed 1,154 kgs, sea turtle scutes at 263 kgs, 104 kgs of sea horses, and 37 kgs of sea dragon or pipefish. The PCSD together with the DENR, and other agencies, conducted the inventory.
Jovic Fabello, information officer of the PCSD, said that the pangolin scales have a value of P9,000 to P15,000 per kilo from the source, but in the black market it can reach $600 per kilo.
“Yung scutes ng pawikan, wala ako makuha value. Ibinase ko na lang sa isang pawikan (large/mature) na P30,000 ang bilihan from source, pero sa black market umaabot ng P145,000 per piece. Yung seahorse at pipefish halos pareho ng presyo based from internet nasa $700-$2000 per kilo,” he said.
Pangolins are threatened by poaching for their meat and scales and heavy deforestation of their natural habitats, and are the most trafficked mammals in the world.
Palawan Pangolin also known in the scientific community as Manis Culionensis is listed as endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species.
He said that the wildlife poachers and wildlife byproduct buyers stock up first their contrabands before they could ship it.
“Kung insakto na yung volume para sakto nang magkasya sa container van ay tsaka yan sila mag conduct ng shipment,” he explained.
Fabello believed that most of these pangolin scales came from pangolin in Palawan.
Some of the wildlife byproducts samples went sent to UP Diliman for forensic examination.
PCSD said that Palawan, as the country’s last ecological frontiers, has a vital role being home to endemic species, but despite this, the province is also identified as among the hotspots of wildlife poaching and trade.
“As beings that cannot talk in the conventional human way of communication, millions of animals suffer in silence due to human activities and environmental degradation. Reports state that the world’s biodiversity has lost 60% of the wildlife in just 4 decades while millions of domesticated animals are victims of cruelty and abuse,” the PCSD said in a statement.
It further said that Palawan is home to many endemic species, but it is also one of the hotspots for wildlife trade. PCSD then urged the public and concerned citizens of Palawan to join or volunteer in PCSD wildlife campaigns.
“Despite efforts, wildlife from the province is still being illegally harvested and terrestrial and aquatic areas are still being destroyed. Stakeholders and the whole Palawan community need to work together to keep Palawan a cradle of rich biodiversity,” the statement further said.