Pangolin in Ayala Alabang returned to Palawan

Rhodina Villanueva - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — A pangolin rescued earlier this month from Ayala Alabang Subdivision in Muntinlupa City has been returned to its natural habitat in Palawan, a Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) official said yesterday.

The pangolin, also known as the scaly anteater, underwent DNA testing at the University of the Philippines’ Institute of Biology, according to director Crisanta Marlene Rodriguez of the DENR’s Biodiversity Management Bureau.

“The results of said test confirmed that the pangolin is of Palawan origin,” she said, adding that the release was made in close coordination with the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development staff. 

On Sept. 4, the enforcement team of Task Force POGI (Philippine Operations Group on Ivory and Illegal Wildlife Trade) rushed to Ayala Alabang Subdivision to validate a report that one of its residents was in possession of a pangolin.

The animal was in the custody of the barangay hall after it was turned over by a resident who found the animal outside the house of Xiao Ming, a Chinese national.

Authorities found no evidence that Xiao had been keeping the animal.             

Xiao, when interviewed by the team through an interpreter, said on the morning of Sept. 4, they found the pangolin in the ceiling of his house. He said his driver tried but failed to catch the pangolin.

Initial examination revealed that the pangolin, which barangay officials and residents named “Panggoy,” was “healthy with some external parasites (ticks) noted in between its scales.”

DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu warned that keeping wild animals – particularly critically endangered species as Palawan pangolins – as pets is illegal and is punishable by a maximum prison term of four years and a fine of P450,000.

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