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Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Collecting tarsiers can get one to jail, and P200K fine


Rey Anthony Chiu

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, July 02, 2013 (PIA) –Collecting, possessing a Philippine tarsier, one which the law categorizes as endangered species can get one a P20,000 to P200,000 penalty plus a prison term of 1 year and a day to 2 years, according to Republic Act 9147.

RA 9147, or Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act governs the conservation and protection of wildlife resources and their habitats especially those found in the Philippines and other critical habitats and applies to all exotic species subject to trade, cultures, maintained and bred in captivity in the country, Cora Colarines said. 

Colarines, the environment department’s Bohol information officer guested the Kapihan sa PIA Thursday along with Restituto Baay Jr., the agency’s protected areas and wildlife bureau chief at the local Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

The forum on the air discussed issues on the recent death of a tarsier which found its way to Manila Golf Club, a clear indication that wild animals endemic to the country’s southern islands continue to be traded illegally.

DENR authorities believe a tourist from the nearby posh villages could have bought the tarsier as a pet and somehow lost it, before concerned caddies at the club captured the animal and turned it over to the environment agency.

The wild animal, held too far away from its natural habitat in the Greater Mindanao Faunal Region naturally died, before the department of environment authorities could consummate its release to the wilds in the Corella Bohol Tarsier Sanctuary. 

Tarsiers, one of the world’s smallest primates, are supposed to be protected as they have accordingly been here for almost 50 million years.
But cuddly and cute enough, tarsiers have been Bohol’s main tourism mascot, and tarsier key chains, refrigerator magnets, paper weights and other popular novelty could probably pushed some tourists to consider them lovable as pets, mused local environment officials. 

The fact remains, collecting these tarsiers without the proper permits can get one jail terms and heavy penalties. While collecting tarsiers has its own matrix of penalties, selling it can also add up to the illegal violations, where one can get a year to two years jail term and P2,000 to P200,000 fines, according to the law. 

The same law also prescribes the penalties for all marine and freshwater mammals, which the las has categorized as endangered. 

Killing dolpins, whales and other cetaceans can get one a 4 years and a day to 6 years imprisonment and a fine of P100,000 to P 1,000,000. Inflicting injuries to the same animals can mete one 2 years to 4 years jail term and a penalty of P50,000 to P500,000.

For these marine mammals, a person who is caught possessing meat, derivatives and by-products can still get a year to two years in jail and a fine of P20,000 to P200,000.

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