Clam­p­down on il­le­gal an­i­mal trade

Long jour­neys sub­ject an­i­mals to great suf­fer­ing and death

Costa Blanca News (North Edition) - - NEWS - By Dave Jones [email protected]­

GUARDIA Civil in Al­i­cante have seized 26 pro­tected an­i­mals – 19 tor­toises and seven grey par­rots – in an op­er­a­tion against the il­le­gal traf­fick­ing of wildlife over the in­ter­net.

A force spokesman ex­plained that nine peo­ple are be­ing ques­tioned in con­nec­tion with the racket.

He said the Guardia Civil en­vi­ron­men­tal branch SEPRONA started in­ves­ti­gat­ing at the be­gin­ning of the year.

All the an­i­mals have been handed over to res­cue cen­tres and ‘re­main at the dis­po­si­tion of the courts’.

The spokesman noted that the in­ter­net has al­lowed the il­le­gal traf­fick­ing of pro­tected species to flour­ish.

Of­fi­cers have been in­ves­ti­gat­ing a num­ber of web­sites in or­der to clamp down on the trade.

The spokesman ex­plained that an­i­mals sold via in­ter­net web pages are not cov­ered by any health checks from the au­thor­i­ties.

“Species which are il­le­gally traded have not been in­spected by vets and this can lead to the spread of se­ri­ous dis­eases and mis­treat­ment,” he said.

Also, the long jour­neys which the an­i­mals are sub­jected to ‘cause great suf­fer­ing’ and in some case lead to their deaths.

Through their in­ves­ti­ga­tions this year, of­fi­cers found that nine sus­pects were in­volved in ‘con­tin­ued traf­fick­ing of an­i­mals’.

Some of th­ese were un­der the high­est level of pro­tec­tion, cov­ered by the Con­ven­tion on In­ter­na­tional Trade in En­dan­gered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) – an in­ter­na­tional agree­ment be­tween gov­ern­ments which aims to en­sure that in­ter­na­tional trade in spec­i­mens of wild an­i­mals and plants does not threaten their sur­vival.

Some of th­ese an­i­mals would fetch be­tween €500 and €1,000 on the black market.

Of­fi­cers also seized a set of ele­phant tusks.

The spokesman noted that the sus­pects face be­tween six months and two years in prison.

Some of the tor­toises which were found by the in­ves­ti­gat­ing of­fi­cers

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