Deputized wildlife officers of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) together with agents of the Bureau of Customs (BOC) arrested a passenger for attempting to smuggle into the Philippines more than 50 heads of different reptile species from Thailand.

The suspect, identified as Neil Ryan Dysoco, will be charged for violating Republic Act No. 9147, for which he could be penalized with imprisonment and fines.

Arnel Matreo, head of the Wildlife Traffic Monitoring Unit of DENR-National Capital Region, said that the suspect was arrested at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2 at around 11:30 pm. of February 21.

According to a report from the BOC, Dysoco had arrived from on board flight PR-737 from Bangkok, Thailand, when the agents discovered his baggage containing 48 heads of green iguana, two green basilisk lizards, three bearded dragons, and four chameleons.

Matreo said that Dysoco had attempted to smuggle the reptiles but, upon realizing that the BOC had detected the animals, immediately informed the customs agents of the contents of his baggage.

The BOC immediately arrested Dysoco and confiscated the animals after these were confirmed to be of different wildlife species.

The rescued animals would be turned over to the Wildlife Rescue Center of the DENR's Biodiversity Management Bureau.

Meanwhile, authorities are investigating where Dysoco had been planning to bring the reptiles. ###