Some 6,000 wrinkle-lipped bats were seized from four suspected wildlife poachers in the protected area of Biak-na-Bato National Park in Bulacan, in an effort to save the remaining biodiversity.
According to Paquito Moreno Jr., executive director of Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Central Luzon, the agency along with the Community Environment and Natural Resources (CENRO) office in Baliwag, the Philippine National Police (PNP), and the National Anti-illegal Logging Task Force in Biak-na-Bato National Park saw the four suspected poachers gathering the animals. The 6,000 bats are reportedly worth over P90,000, Moreno said.
Authorities arrested Rolando Santiago, 40, Reynante Donito Gonzales, 44, Rejie Mangahas, 28, and Ronald Santiago, 39, all residents of barangay Biak-na-Bato in San Miguel, Bulacan.
Moreno said that wrinkly-lipped bats are classified as vulnerable species under DENR Administrative Order No. 2019-09 or the Updated National List of Threatened Philippine Fauna and their Categories.
The DENR has already filed criminal charges against the suspects for violating Section 20 (a) of the Republic Act (RA) No. 7586 or the National Integrated Protected Area System (NIPAS) law. RA 7586 imposes a penalty of a maximum fine of P500,000, exclusive of the damage value of wildlife, and a maximum of six years imprisonment.
About 100 bats were released back into the wild, while the dead bats were immediately buried to prevent the possible spread of infection and zoonotic disease.
This article, 6000 bats seized from illegal poachers during raid in Bulacan, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company.