Manila, Feb 22, (dpa/GNA) – The Philippines has intercepted 25 live reptiles concealed in bamboo chimes and lanterns intended for export to Taiwan, the Bureau of Customs said Saturday.
The packages, which were declared to contain souvenir items, contained 2 venomous spitting cobras, 8 pit vipers and 15 sailfin lizards with a market price of 300,000 pesos (6,382 dollars), the bureau said.
The reptiles were concealed in purses made from native materials which contained the bamboo chimes and lanterns. The reptiles were also placed inside the purses.
The seized cobras, pit vipers and sailfin lizards have been turned over to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the bureau said in a statement.
Last month, a customs officer seized a package containing 20 endangered tarantula spiders and 8 scorpions from Thailand.
Last October, the the bureau intercepted 119 tarantulas concealed in shipment of rubber shoes from Poland.
The bureau said it was building a case against the shipper for illegal wildlife trade, which is punishable by imprisonment of up to one year and a fine of up to 200,000 pesos (4,255 dollars).