Exotic Animal Taxidermist Bust

Sunday, March 3, 2019
By Vivienne Hughes

SPN Stuffing Protected AnimalsThe Guardia Civil are questioning six people suspected of trafficking protected species and have confiscated at least 200 stuffed animals.

Police operation, Taxideralia was put into motion in May last year in Monóvar (Alicante) culminated in these half a dozen arrests.

The operation had been triggered by a growth in adverts on the Internet offering stuffed, exotic animals, and the majority of those adverts used the same contact telephone number, located in Alicante.

It was precisely because of the amount of stuffed animals being offered on the web that the police suspected that there was a clandestine taxidermist workshop involved.

When the police investigated the telephone number, it turned out to be for a builder, however, they phoned and said that they were looking for animals to buy and set up a meeting in an industrial estate within the city of Alicante, where the sellers supposedly had their office.

Once the meeting took place, they identified the contact as the builder and found 60 desiccated pieces in his warehouse, both from Africa and Spain.

They then examined the stuffed animals, which pointed them towards a possible taxidermist running his business from a chalet in Mutxamiel (Alicante), so they staked it out. In the meantime, their online investigations continued and they found a discreet webpage offering taxidermist services in the same area with “25-years’ experience.”

This home-based taxidermist workshop had no licence and apparently disposed of animal entrails and other superfluous parts by dumping them in the municipal sewage system.

When the police moved in, the workshop had African lions, a white rhino, a Bengal tiger, a hippo, and other animals from African such as a crocodile, antelope and a giraffe.

This illegal trade is a very lucrative business moving an estimated 90,000,000 dollars a year worldwide. Each year around 1.5m rare birds and 440,000 tonnes of medicinal plants move through the black market.

As far as poaching goes around the world, 100 tigers, 1,000 rhinos and 30,000 elephants and around 100,000 pangolins (mammals covered in large horny scales) are eliminated each year.

Spain is becoming the doorway to Europe for big-game prizes from Africa, thanks to its geographical situation.

(News: Alicante)

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