Philippines on alert against wild animal entry from Africa

Manila – Philippine wildlife authorities have put on high alert against the illegal entry and smuggling of wild animals from Africa, amid Ebola fear in West African countries, a senior government official said Wednesday.

Secretary Ramon Paje of the Philippine Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said all personnel from the Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB) assigned in airports and seaports nationwide have been tasked to strictly monitor all imported wild animals and exotic pets, particularly those coming from Ebola-hit countries of Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.

The official said the DENR had stopped issuing permits for wild animals imported from Africa as early as 2006.

“No import permit has been issued by the DENR since 2006 for this purpose, so any shipment coming from any part of Africa is outright illegal,” Paje said.

The Environment chief also reiterated his call on the public to refrain from keeping wild animals as pets given their potential serious risk to human health.

“Keeping wild and exotic animals as pets threaten public health and safety. These animals can be carriers of zoonotic diseases or contagious diseases that spread between animals and humans,” Paje said. Source: Xinhua