Authorities seized various exotic animals, worth a total of P250 million, in Mati City, Davao Oriental Monday afternoon.
Operatives of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Region 11, Mati City Police Station and the 28th Infantry Battalion also arrested the alleged caretakers Jomar Toledo, 34, and Rompas Lumakore, 25, during the operation in Barangay Dahican, Mati around 4 p.m. Monday.
The regional and the provincial offices of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB) identified 345 species of birds and reptiles.
“Accordingly, the apprehended wildlife species were already at the area for about a week and that the caretakers were being paid to feed them,” the DENR statement said.
Most of the seized animals were birds and lizards believed to be from Indonesia.
“Some of the identified species were Black Palm Cockatoos, wallabies and Echidna,” the statement said.
All the seized species were temporarily endorsed to the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office in Mati.
Dr. Rogelio Demelletes, DENR senior ecosystems management specialist, said they acted on a tip that animals were smuggled into the country from Indonesia.
The exotic animals are illegally sold ranging from P100,000 to as high as P300,000.