Zamboanga City - An Environmental Law Enforcement team from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Region IX and Philippine National Police confiscated two (2) Philippine Sailfin Lizards (Hydrosaurus pustulatus), locally known as “Ibid”, yesterday August 5, 2021 in Barangay Victoria, Zamboanga City.
The seizure of the wildlife was witnessed by Victoria Barangay Chairman Emelito B. Ziga, PNP Sangali Police Station-3 personnel under PLT Hareim A. Gani and the wife of the alleged suspect (name witheld).
DENR IX Regional Executive Director Crisanta Marlene P. Rodriguez said that her office ordered an investigation after receiving an anonymous call from their hotline number on the presence of two Philippine Sailfin Lizards being offered for sale at an exorbitant price.
“ This is a clear violation of Section 27 of Republic Act 9147 or the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act wherein it states that it is unlawful for anyone to collect, possess or sell wildlife without the necessary permit from the DENR,” Director Rodriguez said.
Initial investigations made by the team headed by DENR IX Enforcement Division Chief Cidur Julsadjiri, together with Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO) Zamboanga Sibugay and Community of Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) Zamboanga City personnel, revealed that the wildlife was being kept in a pen and was just waiting for the buyer who is paying 50 million pesos as this will be shipped to Malaysia.
The wife of the suspect could not produce any permit or documents allowing them to keep the wildlife. She vehemently denied any involvement in the business of her husband as she informed the team that the wildlife was only entrusted to them by a friend of her husband.
“ A criminal complaint will be filed by our office against the suspect or suspects at the Office of the City Prosecutor of Zamboanga City upon termination of our investigation report”, Julsadjiri said.
The Philippine Sailfin Lizards are now in the custody of CENRO Zamboanga City and will be released back to its habitat when deemed fit and healthy.
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.
The public is advised to report any illegal wildlife trade and other environmental crimes through DENR IX official social media page DENR Zamboanga Peninsula or through its Hotline number at 09481471250.
Photos by: RSCIG, DENR IX