Customs Officials in the Philippines have seized a total of 757 live venomous tarantulas at Manila’s International Airport, the Bureau of Customs said on Tuesday.
The bureau said that customs officers seized the hairy spiders from Poland on Monday.
The tarantulas, classified as endangered wildlife species, were turned over to the Philippine Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
According to Customs Officer Carmelita Talusan, the spiders were concealed in boxes of oatmeal and cookies.
“The shipment was sent from Poland by a certain Wojciech Pakasz and was consigned to Jesse Camaro, a resident of Caloocan City,” she added.
Violators of Illegal Wildlife Trading in the Philippines could face imprisonment of up to two years and a fine of roughly 3,816 U.S. dollars under the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act.
The violators could also face an imprisonment of up to six years and a fine of roughly 5,724 U.S. dollars under the Customs Modernisation and Tariff Act.
The bureau said that since 2018 its officers at the airport had turned over to DENR a total of 2,152 wildlife and endangered species including the 250 geckos, 254 corals, and other endangered reptiles which were sent through air parcels, baggage and shipments.
Early this year, Customs officers also seized 63 iguanas, chameleons and bearded dragons at the airport.
On March 9, customs officers also seized 1,529 live exotic turtles at the airport.
The star tortoise, redcoat tortoise, sulcate tortoise, red-eared slider, was stuffed inside four unclaimed luggage, the BOC said.
Talusan said the customs officers at the airport will continue to be vigilant in a bid “to protect the borders against importation and exportation of illegal wildlife trade and other prohibited and anti-social goods’’.
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