Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said the department will take care of the 1,529 turtles seized at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), “until they die,” if China doesn’t them back
Dr. Rogelio Demelletes Jr., DENR-Biodiversity Management Bureau wildlife law enforcer said they would request Beijing about the source from where the turtles were brought and if they wish have them returned,
The turtles were discovered wrapped in duct-tape and were inside four abandoned suitcases at NAIA Terminal 2 last Sunday
The bags were allegedly owned by an unnamed passenger that arrived from Hong Kong aboard Philippine Airlines Flight PR 311.
The turtles were worth P4.5 million contained within were exotic species like the Indian star (worth P20,000 each), red-footed tortoises (P20,000), Hermann’s tortoises (P10,000), and sulcata tortoises (P8,000).
Demelletes explained that the turtles can never be released into the wild because they were not endemic to the Philippines. “They have to acclimatize first and then checked… [for] diseases.”
May have been intended to be sold to the black market, the turtles are now being cared for at the Ninoy Aquino Wildlife Park in Quezon City.