Six thousand wrinkle-lipped bats (scientific name Chaerephon plicatus) were recently recovered from four suspected wildlife poachers at Biak-Na-Bato National Park in San Miguel, Bulacan.
The suspects are Rolando Santiago, 40; Reynante Donito Gonzales, 44; Rejie Mangahas, 28; and Ronald Santiago, 39.
According to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources executive director in Central Luzon, Paquito Moreno, many of the animals were already dead upon seizure. It was revealed that the bats were captured in a protected area and were to be sold to restaurants serving exotic dishes in provinces and Metro Manila.
Information officer Don Guevarra said in a separate interview that the bats were found in sacks when the suspects were checked outside the national park.
The dead bats were promptly buried near the park’s forest nursery to avoid the possible spread of an infectious disease that can jump from animals to humans. Meanwhile, 100 bats were released back into the wild.
The bats are classified as vulnerable species under the department’s Administrative Order 2019-09. Commonly found in Southeast Asia and southern China, they are distinguished by their wrinkled upper lip and soft fur.
“Hunting, destroying, disturbing or mere possession of any plants or animals or products derived there without permit from the Protected Area Management Board are strictly prohibited,” said Moreno.
At present, the DENR has filed criminal charges against the suspects for violation of the National Integrated Protected Area System law. They face a max fine of P500,000 up to 6 years jail sentence.
Photo: Yahoo News