ILOILO CITY, June 27 – The Department of Environment and Natural Resources 6 (DENR-6) here has warned the public against illegal collection and trade of wildlife animals, particularly geckos locally known as "tuko".
This was after the agency received reports that unidentified buyers have bought this species at high prices for scientific study and breeding purposes.
DENR-Protected Areas Wildlife and Coastal Zone Management Service (PAWCZMS) officer-in-charge Damaso Fuentes said they gathered information that buyers of "tuko" paid P10,000 to P50,000 depending on its weight.
Fuentes said even if the gecko is not classified as an endangered species, its collection is highly prohibited unless permit is secured from their office.
He said three geckos were voluntarily turned over to their office by an unknown male passenger bound to Manila two weeks ago after he failed to secure a transport permit from their office.
The passenger was reportedly advised to turn over the animals to DENR by deputized wildlife enforcers assigned at the seaport area.
Fuentes said they only issued permit to collect to local and foreign students who need the wildlife for their research and scientific studies upon submission of required documents.
Local student researchers should first ask clearance either from the barangay council, mayor or any private land owner to collect such species, submit a research proposal to the DENR with attached endorsement from head university school and pay a permit fee of P100.
He also disclosed that their central office has already drafted guidelines for the collection and breeding of this species and will be implemented hopefully within the year upon its approval. (PNA)