Three of seven wandering whistling ducks and one monitor lizard were killedwith airgunsby illegal hunters in Kabankalan City, Negros Occidental, a Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office official said yesterday.
PENR Officer Edgardo Rostata said six hunters, identified asLope Garces and Jess Zamora of Cebu, Mancy Arroyo, Jadee Otero, Arnolfo Sonega, and Jolius Rios of La Carlota, were apprehended in Brgy. Daan Banwa, Kabankalan at around 4:30 p.m.Saturday.
The apprehending team was led by Forester Ace Santocildes and Kabankalan CENR Officer Rosievel Dimatulac, who were assisted by the Kabankalan police.
Initial investigation showed that hunting was just a hobby of the group.
Aside from the animals, air guns worth about P200,000 were also confiscated from the hunters. The birds that were injured were brought to the Talarak Foundation in Kabankalan for safekeeping and medical treatment, and will be released into the wild once healed. The air guns are now in the custody of the DENR.
“The hunters’ 12 hour reglementary period was expired on Sunday morning, so they were set free. We are just waiting for the regular filing in court,” Rostata said.
The wandering whistling ducks belong to vulnerable species, while monitor lizards are a threatened species. This means that the penalty and fines waiting for the group for the violation of Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act are imprisonment of one month and one day, to three months and a fine of P5,000 to P20,000, he said.
The tip that led to the apprehension of the hunters came from a concerned citizen, who called the DENR and PNP.
“This apprehension of hunters is a lesson to all would-be illegal hunters that there are laws protecting these resources in the country,” Rostata said.*JAB
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