MANILA, Philippines – Twenty-five snakes, including a spitting cobra and deadly vipers, were seized by officials of the Palawan Conservation for Sustainable Development (PCSD) in El Nido, Palawan.
The snakes were found contained in carton boxes inside a bus in El Nido.
Bus conductor Joel Baluarte said an unidentified man in Puerto Princesa left the boxes inside the bus and told him that someone in El Nido will pick them up.
However, Baluarte became suspicious when he saw that the boxes were leaking water.
When Baluarte opened the boxes, he discovered that more than 20 snakes were concealed inside plastic softdrink bottles.
He said he immediately alerted the Palawan provincial police, which in turn notified the Palawan Wildlife Rescue and Conservation Center.
The snakes were turned over to the PCSD.
PCSD suspects that the snakes will be sold to an underground market in Manila, similar to the gecko or “tuko” trade.
PCSD said snake blood is commonly used in Chinese medicines and antidotes.
The 15 mangrove snakes, 9 viper snakes, and a Palawan spitting cobra were released by authorities into the wild at around 4 p.m. Wednesday.
Authorities said these snakes are considered as endangered species. -- Report from Butch Mendizabal, ABS-CBN North Luzon