Police in Spain have seized a massive private taxidermy collection of more than 1,000 mounted animals, over 400 of which were protected species.
The collection included rare goats, cheetahs, polar bears, and rhinoceros. The collection was stored in two large warehouses in Bétera, Spain. The taxidermy seizure is one of the largest in Europe.
A person is being investigated for the crimes of smuggling and another related to the protection of flora and fauna in the municipality of Bétera (Valencia).
Of the specimens found, 405 were CITES listed, some even extinct, such as the oryx dammah. Other animals on the verge of extinction were discovered, like the addax and Bengal tiger.
The pieces found would have an approximate value of more than 44 million dollars. The seizure is the largest find of nationally protected animals.
The operation carried out by the Nature Protection Team of the Valencia Civil Guard Command began last November 2021, when the agents became aware of a possible private collection of specimens in the municipality of Bétera.
Continuing with the investigations, the agents located the animals in a 50,000 square meters storage facility, which contained 1090 specimens inside. There were more protected animals found, such as the cheetah, leopard, lion, lynx, polar bear, snow leopard, white rhinoceros, etc. Also, among the pieces found, 198 were large ivory tusks of elephants.
In the next phase of the operation, the agents will analyze all the documentation provided by the owner to justify the possession of the pieces.