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Nation

DENR: Support drive vs illegal wildlife trade

Rhodina Villanueva - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — A Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) official appealed to the public on Monday to support the government’s campaign against the illegal wildlife trade, which reportedly costs the Philippines P50 billion every year.

Datu Tungko Saikol, Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB) director, said the COVID pandemic “proved that public health could be adversely affected by zoonotic diseases emerging from contact with wildlife or infectious diseases transmitted from animals to humans.”

He issued the warning during the DENR-BMB’s National Wildlife Law Enforcement Summit held online recently.

Saikol noted that in 2020, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime’s World Wildlife Crime Report indicated that zoonotic diseases represent up to 75 percent of all emerging infectious diseases.

He also said that conserving and protecting Philippine biodiversity “creates jobs, supports local businesses and tourism, and increases local tax revenue. It is common-sense economics.”

The DENR said the P50 billion lost to the illegal trade covers the market value of wildlife, poaching-related damage to habitats and loss of ecotourism revenue.

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