The environmental department reminded the public against the unauthorized collection of rare and endangered wild plants after a picture of Mt. Malindig “hikers” posing and taking wild plants went viral.
The Marinduque office of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ Provincial Environment and Natural Resources (DENR-PENRO) said that such acts are illegal and punishable under the Wildlife Act of 2001.
The office released a list of the most common plant species that are illegally collected from the wild, based on the DENR and the Biodiversity Management Bureau.
These include the pitcher plant, a plant that a local news outlet said were among those held by the “hikers” in the viral photo.
“We call on the public to help protect these wild plants. Collecting and trading of wildlife species including plants, especially those that are threatened, rare and endangered without securing a permit from the DENR, is illegal and punishable under the provisions of the Republic Act 9147, also known as the Wildlife Act of 2001,” DENR PENRO Marinduque said in an advisory.
The office said that violators may be imprisoned for a maximum of two years and one day to four years and be fined for P30,000 to P300,000.
“If you know anyone who is involved in the illegal collection and trade of these wild plants, please inform the DENR-PENRO Marinduque, Local Government Units, and/or Police Officers in your area,” it added.
Marinduque News on Monday reported that the group recently hiked to Mt. Malindig through the Makulilis Peak.
“Subalit makikita sa larawan na tila may pitcher o wild plant na hawak ang ilan. Ayon sa DENR, ang ganitong uri ng mga halaman ay itinuturing na endangered at kabilang sa mga ipinagbabawal na species,” the news outlet wrote on Facebook.
“Ibig sabihin, ang mga ito ay hindi dapat kinukuha o ginagalaw mula sa orihinal nitong pinagtutubuan,” it added.
In a separate post, DENR PENRO Marinduque asked those who have information on the individuals’ identities in the viral photo to come forward to their office.
The pitcher plant
The National Museum-Marinduque Romblon Area Museum said the pitcher plant or the Nepenthes sibuyanensis is one of the endemic plants found in Mt. Guiting-Guiting.
Nepenthes is carnivorous and has modified leaves called pitfall traps that are shaped like water “pitchers,” hence the name.
The plant lures flying and crawling insects into its secreted nectary liquids and then digests them for nutrition.
The museum describes its appearance as the following:
“The stem and leaf margins may have reddish highlights. Lower pitcher is yellowish to red, sometimes with some scattered red spots below the peristome. The peristome is usually darker than the rest of the pitcher, being dark red to almost black. The lid is yellowish to orange.”
It added that the Nepenthes sibuyanensis is a “critically endangered plant,” citing the database of Co’s Digital Flora of the Philippines.
“As part of the country’s rich biodiversity it needs to be protected and conserved for the next generation,” the museum added.