Hundreds of live venomous tarantulas, which were concealed in gift wrapped oatmeal cookies, were seized from a shipment at the Central Mail Exchange Center of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Pasay City on Monday.

A total of 757 tarantulas, which costs approximately at P310,000, were allegedly shipped from Poland by Wojciech Pakasz and was consigned to Jesse Camaro from Caloocan City, according to the Bureau of Customs.

The animals were turned over to the Wildlife Traffic Monitoring Unit – Department of Environment and Natural Resources (WTMU-DENR) on Tuesday.

Violators may face imprisonment of one year and one day to two years and will be fined P20,000 to P200,000 for violating the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act. Unlawful importation and violation of the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act could also face three years and one day imprisonment.

Sergio Henriques, a conservation biologist and chairman of the spider and scorpion specialist group for the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), said tarantula trade is rampant and is widespread globally.

Just like those of elephants and rhinos, tarantulas are considered one of the multi-billion dollar industry thanks to black markets all around the globe.

Tarantulas are considered “endangered species” by the IUCN after a number of them are being sought after as pets or for the use in traditional medicine. tical\”,\”insets\”:{\”le