They were arrested for harvesting seagrass.
It’s not indicated in the May 18, 2013 report of Sun.Star Zamboanga if the suspects apprehended in Zamboanga del Norte knew that this particular brown variety of seagrass is covered by Republic Act (RA) 9147, also known as the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act.
But in other cases of wildlife smuggling, perpetrators can hardly claim ignorance about wildlife crime.
Just last month, a raiding team came upon carnage in a Tondo house. Carcasses of five juvenile Saltwater Crocodiles, 78 Palawan Hill Mynahs and 12 Blue-naped Parrots were found in the residence, which an informer fingered as a holding pen of a suspected wildlife trader supplying Metro Manila markets for “exotic” house pets.
The body count is not the most nauseating aspect of the affair. It is the report that the animals were killed to keep them from making a noise and alerting authorities.
Trivial and bestial
Stopping cruelty to animals is not the only reason behind the campaign against illegal smuggling of wildlife.
The global trafficking of wildlife drives species to extinction and destroys also critical habitats.
Transactions like the foiled 2011 smuggling of P35 million worth of 196 kilos of sea whips corals, 161 heads of preserved hawksbill and green turtles, 7,300 pieces of seashells, and 21,169 pieces of black corals is driven by the demand for traditional medicine and fashion accessories.
Wildlife trafficking supports a network that ranges from small-scale hunters to black market traders who kill an animal only to harvest its parts, such as the skin, tusks, fins, shell, horns and internal organs. More....