Police arrested over the weekend two fishermen and a van driver after they were captured transporting 10 endangered Palawan pangolins or anteaters in Barangay Mendez Crossing East, Tagaytay City.
Tagaytay police named those arrested as Simfroso Cauntay Salazar, 53, driver and a resident of Kilometer 115 Talisay, Calatagan, Batangas; Jorlan Libertino Torrequinada, 39, and Victor Cabuniag Equiza, 40, both fishermen and of P. Mabuhay Abaroan, Roxas, Palawan.
A police team seized the suspects at an “Oplan Sita” or checkpoint at 1:30 a.m. Friday after the pangolins in a cage were found in the compartment of the van that was being run by Salazar.
A Palawan or Philippine pangolin (scientific name: manis culionensis) is a burrowing, scaly mammal that thrives only in the hinterlands of Palawan.
Pangolins are coated with uniquely tough and overlapping scales. These mammals eat ants and termites using an extraordinarily long, sticky tongue and are able to quickly roll themselves up into a tight ball when they are frightened.
The species, also called balintong in the country, was advised being trafficked in the country and sold at a high price in foreign markets especially their scales and meat that have medicinal values.
Hunters reportedly sell one pangolin to a direct buyer at P1,500 at least.
News source: Manila Bulletin