Philippines Bureau of Customs Port of NAIA intercepted a package containing a total of 20 endangered tarantula spiders and 8 scorpions illegally smuggled through Central Mail Exchange Center (CMEC).
Twenty-eight (28) plastic containers individually housing the tarantulas and scorpions were found upon opening of the package. Records further show that the package from Samut Parakain, Thailand was misdeclared as “Teaching equipment”, and imported without the necessary import permits.
Both tarantulas and scorpions were immediately transferred and turned over to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources Wildlife Traffic Monitoring Unit (DENR WTMU) for rehabilitation and care.
Notably, BOC NAIA also intercepted 119 tarantulas from Poland concealed in a pair of rubber shoes last October 2020.
Illegal importation, collection and trade of endangered wildlife are punishable by imprisonment of six years and a fine of Php200,000.00 under Republic Act 9147 or the Wildlife Resources Protection and Conservation Act.
On the other hand, under Section 1401 of the CMTA, unlawful importation of goods with appraised value of more than Php250,000.00 including duties and taxes, is penalized by imprisonment of not less than 30 days and 1 day but more more than 6 months, or fine of not less than Php25,000.00 but not more than Php75,000.00.
According to District Collector Carmelita M. Talusan, in compliance with the directive of BOC Commissioner Rey Leonardo B. Guerrero on intensified border protection , continues to man the air cargo terminals and warehouses 24/7 to check on illicit goods and those which requires necessary permits .
Bureau of Customs NAIA is also one with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in upholding the conservation and protection of wildlife and deterring wildlife smuggling.