Clampdown on illegal animal trade
Long journeys subject animals to great suffering and death
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