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MIDSAYAP, COTABATO PROVINCE - Environment officials here recently ensured the safety of a Philippine crocodile (Crocodylus mindorensis) and three Reticulated pythons (Malayopython reticulatus) after a priest notified the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Region 12 through the Community Environment and Natural Resources Offices (CENRO) of Midsayap.
CENR Officer Badjury H. Mustapha said that Father Marciano Andres, OMI, Director of Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto in Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao – adjacent to Cotabato City – informed his office to rescue the wildlife species which were saved by the latter from private individuals.
Father Andres, who took care of the reptiles for four months, said that he coordinated with the DENR officials to retrieve the healthy species and admitted that he could no longer sustain to provide their basic needs.
Upon receiving the report, CENR Officer Mustapha immediately ordered his personnel - Assistant Protected Area Superintendent Adiel R. Pamikirin, Forest Technician Shuahmed H. Bago and Field Assistant Anna P. Saban – with the assistance of a Herpetologist from University of Southern Mindanao in Kabacan, Cotabato Prof. John Aries G. Tabora to rescue the wildlife species.
Based on the report, the rescued Philippine crocodile has a length of seven feet while the three reticulated pythons are seven, eight and nine-feet long.
DENR-12 Regional Executive Director (RED) Atty. Felix S. Alicer expressed his gratitude to Father Andres for going out of his way in rescuing the subject wildlife.
“We are encouraging the public to emulate Father Andres on his display of courage and dedication to protect the wildlife,” RED Alicer said.
RED Alicer also thanked Russel Sacdalan-Tumalad - DENR partner from Alamada, Cotabato who has the proper facility to shelter the reptiles – for the temporary protective custody he provided for the wildlife species before they will be transferred to the Regional Wildlife Rescue Center in Lutayan, Sultan Kudarat.
CENR Officer Mustapha said that he is pleased that public is now more aware and engaged in the protection of wildlife which plays a vital role in maintaining a balanced ecosystem.
Based on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the Philippine crocodile, which is listed as critically endangered, is considered to be the most severely threatened crocodile species in the world while the Reticulated pythons are widespread and listed as one of the least-concern species by the IUCN.
Hunting, killing, illegal collection, possession and trafficking of wildlife in the Philippines are punishable under Republic Act 9147 or the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act. (MMM) | Courtesy: CENRO Midsayap