Puerto Princesa—Authorities seized more than 4,000 critically endangered Philippine forest turtles, locally known as bakoko or pond turtles, from a local resident in Barangay Rio Tuba in Bataraza town.
The Provincial Law Enforcement Task Group seized 4,312 live turtles from Albar Abdurakib, who identified himself as a mere caretaker.
Abdurakib will be charged with violation of Section 27 of the Philippine Wildlife Act.
The operation, which was conducted after Palawan Region Trial Court Judge Ambrosio de Luna issued a search warrant, also yielded 90 dead turtles.
Meanwhile, the Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park (TRNP) off the island town of Cagayancillo is now part of an important international highway for the conservation of migratory water birds.
The TRNP was declared part of the East Asian-Australasian Flyway Partnership, said Retchie Pagliawan, research officer at the Tubbataha Management Office (TMO).
The north and south islets of the protected marine area in Cagayancillo municipality support more than 20,000 seabirds, Pagliawan said.
It is also the breeding ground of six seabird species, namely the Red-footed Booby, Brown Booby, Great Crested Tern, Sooty Tern, Black Noddy and Brown Noddy.
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