Sellers of rare animals, minerals busted after posting photos in Facebook

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These stalactites are still in the Facebook account of a certain Earl Galupo even after the DENR raided his house recently in Pagadian City These stalactites are still in the Facebook account of a certain Earl Galupo even after the DENR raided his house recently in Pagadian City[/caption] Paje cited the recent seizure of a large number of stalactites, corals, and other wildlife species during a buy-bust operation organized by the DENR and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) in the house of a certain Earl Frederick Galupo in Pagadian City last June 25. Recovered at the house were 30 pieces of stalactites, 275 pieces of coral species that include precious and rare black and red corals, several giant clams, two carapace frames of hawksbill turtles, and 29 hawksbill scutes. The sale of stalactites and corals were posted in a popular local online trading site and also posted in Galupo?s Facebook account, including the photos of the endangered hawkbill turtles. Prior to this, at least five animals were rescued from their captors in three separate occasions by operatives of the BMB. The rescued animals include two serpent eagles, a crested goshawk, a white-bellied sea eagle and a monitor lizard. The two serpent eagles were seized from a seller in Sta. Mesa, Manila, who had posted them on Facebook. A goshawk and sea eagle, meanwhile, were tied to improvised perches in a small street in Sta. Cruz, Manila when recovered by operatives following a tip from concerned citizens. The monitor lizard, on the other hand, was rescued by the BMB in Morong, Bataan following a tip from concerned citizens through Facebook. ?Indeed, social media and public assistance play an increasing role in helping authority fight the illegal wildlife trade,? Paje said. He urged the public to continue using social media in reporting cases of wildlife trafficking as the BMB will verify all photos, location and other valuable information provided on social networking sites. [gallery type="slideshow" ids="19327,19328,19329"] At the same time, the DENR chief reminded people that trade and possession of wildlife species without the necessary permit from the BMB is illegal under Republic Act (RA) No. 9147, or the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act. He said animal lovers should refrain from buying, hunting or gathering wild animals from their natural habitat, even if their intention is to help care for and propagate the species. ?These animals were designed by nature to exist in their own habitat in the wild. Caring for them on your own may, in fact, be counterproductive and instead contribute to the decline of their population,? he pointed out. The BMB only allows possession, trade and transport of wildlife with the issuance of permits such as a certificate of wildlife registration (CWR) or wildlife permit. Under RA 9147, the illegal trade or possession of wildlife, especially species considered endangered, are punishable by a jail term of up to two years and a fine of P200,000. ]]>

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